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Historical Tales 

The Romance of Reality 


Author of "Half-Hours with the Beat American Authors," "Tales from the 

Dramatists." etc. 


Volume XIII 





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Copyright, 1891, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
Copyright, 1904, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

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FURNESS ABBEY Frontispiece. 






NIMUE 105 




DRAL 179 











GEOFFREY of Monmouth, the famous chronicler 
of legendary British history, tells us, in refer- 
ence to the time when the Celtic kings of Britain 
were struggling against the Saxon invaders, that 
"there appeared a star of wonderful magnitude 
and brightness, darting its rays, at the end of 
which was a globe of fire in the form of a dragon, 
out of whose mouth issued two rays ; one of which 
seemed to stretch itself beyond the extent of Gaul, 
the other towards the Irish Sea, and ended in two 
lesser rays/' He proceeds to say, that Merlin, the 
magician, being called on to explain this portent, 
declared that the dragon represented Uther, the 
brother of King Ambrose, who was destined him- 
self soon to become king; that the ray extending 
towards Gaul indicated a great son, who should con- 
quer the Gallic Kingdoms; and that the ray with 
two lesser rays indicated a daughter, whose son and 
grandson should successively reign over Britain. 
Uther, in consequence, when he came to the throne, 
had two gold dragons made, one of which he placed 
in the cathedral of Winchester, which it brightly 
illuminated ; the other he kept, and from it gained 
the name of Pendragon. The powerful ray repre- 
sented his great son Arthur, destined to become the 
flower of chivalry, and the favorite hero of mediaeval 



This is history as Geoffrey of Monmouth under- 
stood it, but hardly so in the modern sense, and 
Arthur remains as mystical a figure as Achilles, 
despite the efforts of various writers to bring him 
within the circle of actual kings. After the Romans 
left Britain, two centuries passed of whose history 
hardly a coherent shred remains. This was the 
age of Arthur, one of the last champions of Celtic 
Britain against the inflowing tide of Anglo-Saxon 
invasion. That there was an actual Arthur there 
is some, but no very positive, reason to believe. 
After all the evidence has been offered, we still 
seem to have but a shadowy hero before us, " a king 
of shreds and patches/' whose history is so pieced 
out with conjecture that it is next to impossible to 
separate its facts from its fancies. 

The Arthur of the legends, of the Welsh and Bre- 
ton ballads, of the later Chansons de Geste, of 
Malory and Tennyson, has quite stepped out of the 
historic page and become a hero without time or 
place in any real world, a king of the imagination, 
the loftiest figure in that great outgrowth of chiv- 
alric romance which formed the favorite fictitious 
literature of Europe during three or four of the 
mediaeval centuries. Charlemagne, the leading 
character in the earlier romances of chivalry, was, 
in the twelfth century, replaced by Arthur, a milder 
and more Christian-like hero, whose adventures, 
with those of his Knights of the Round Table, 
delighted the tenants of court and castle in that 
marvel-loving and uncritical age. That the stories 
told of him are all fiction cannot be declared. Many 
of them may have been founded on fact. But, like 


the stones of a prehistoric wall, their facts are so 
densely enveloped by the ivy of fiction that it is 
impossible to delve them out. 

The ballads and romances in which the King 
Arthur of mediaeval story figures as the hero, would 
scarcely prove pleasant and profitable reading to 
us now, however greatly they delighted our ances- 
tors. They are marked by a coarseness and crudity 
which would be but little to our taste. Nor have 
we anything of modern growth to replace them. 
Milton entertained a purpose of making King 
Arthur the hero of an epic poem, but fortunately 
yielded it for the nobler task of " Paradise Lost." 
Spenser gives this hero a minor place in his " Fairie 
Queen/' Dry den projected a King Arthur epic, 
but failed to write it. Eecently Bulwer has given 
us a cumbersome " King Arthur," which nobody 
reads; and Tennyson has handled the subject bril- 
liantly in his " Idyls of the King," splendid suc- 
cesses as poems, yet too infiltrated with the spirit 
of modernism to be acceptable as a reproduction 
of the Arthur of romance. For a true rehabilita- 
tion of this hero of the age of chivalry we must 
go to the " Morte Darthur " of Sir Thomas Malory, 
a writer of the fifteenth century, who lived when 
men still wore armor, and so near to the actual 
age of chivalry as to be in full sympathy with the 
spirit of its fiction, and its pervading love of adven- 
ture and belief in the magical. 

Malory did a work of high value in editing the 
confused mass of earlier fiction, lopping off its ex- 
crescences and redundancies, reducing its coarse- 
ness of speech, and producing from its many stories 


and episodes a coherent and continuous narrative, 
in which the adventures of the Round Table Knights 
are deftly interwoven with the record of the birth, 
life, and death of the king, round whom as the 
central figure all these knightly champions revolve. 
Malory seems to have used as the basis of his work 
perhaps one, perhaps several, old French prose 
romances, and possibly also material derived from 
Welsh and English ballads. Such material in his 
day was doubtless abundant. Geoffrey had drawn 
much of his legendary history from the ancient 
Welsh ballads. The mass of romantic fiction which 
he called history became highly popular, first in 
Brittany, and then in France, the Trouveres making 
Arthur, Lancelot, Tristram, Percival, and others of 
the knightly circle the heroes of involved romances, 
in which a multitude of new incidents were in- 
vented. The Minnesingers of Germany took up the 
same fruitful theme, producing a " Parzivale," a 
" Tristan and Isolt," and other heroic romances. 
From all this mass of material, Malory wrought his 
" Morte Darthur," as Homer wrought his " Iliad y 
from the preceding warlike ballads, and the un- 
known compiler of the " Nibelungenlied '' wrought 
his poem from similar ancient sources. 

Malory was not solely an editor. He was in a 
large sense a creator. It was coarse and crude 
material with which he had to deal, but in his hands 
its rude prose gained a degree of poetic fervor. The 
legends which he preserves he has in many cases 
transmuted from base into precious coin. There 
is repulsive matter in the old romances, which he 
freely cuts out. To their somewhat wooden heroes 


he gives life and character, so that in Lancelot, 
Gawaine, Dinadan, Kay, and others we have to 
deal with distinct personalities, not with the non- 
individualized hard-hitters of the romances. And 
to the whole story he gives an epic completeness 
which it lacked before. In the early days of 
Arthur's reign Merlin warns him that fate has already 
woven its net about him and that the sins of him- 
self and his queen will in the end bring his reign 
to a violent termination, and break up that grand 
fellowship of the Eound Table which has made Brit- 
ain and its king illustrious. This epic character 
of Malory's work is pointed out in the article " Geof- 
frey of Monmouth " in the " Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica," whose writer says that the Arthurian legends 
"were converted into a magnificent prose poem by 
Sir Thomas Malory in 1461. Malory's Morte Dar- 
thur is as truly the epic of the English mind as 
the Iliad is the epic of the Greek mind." 

Yet the " Morte Darthur," if epic in plan and 
treatment, is by no means free from the defects of 
primitive literature. It was written before the age 
of criticism, and confusion reigns supreme in many 
of its pages, a confusion which a very little criti- 
cal supervision might have removed. As an in- 
stance, we find that Galahad, two years after his 
birth, is made a knight, being then fifteen years old. 
In like manner the "seat perilous' 1 at the Eound 
Table is magically reserved for Galahad, the author 
evidently forgetting that he had already given it to 
Percivale. King Mark's murder of his brother 
Baldwin is revenged by Baldwin's grandson, thirty 
or forty years afterward, though there is nothing 


to show that the characters had grown a year older 
in the interval. Here a knight finds one antagonist 
quite sufficient for one man; there he does not 
hesitate to attack fifty at once ; here a slight wound 
disables him; there a dozen deep wounds are fully 
healed by a nighfs rest. Many similar instances 
might be given, but these will suffice. The dis- 
crepancies here indicated were perhaps due to the 
employment of diverse legends, without care to 
bring them into accordance, but they lay the work 
open to adverse criticism. 

This lack of critical accuracy may have been a 
necessary accompaniment of the credulous frame 
of mind that could render such a work possible. It 
needed an artlessness of mental make-up, a full 
capacity for acceptance of the marvellous, a simple- 
minded faith in chivalry and its doings, which could 
scarcely exist in common with the critical tempera- 
ment. In truth, the flavor of an age of credulity 
and simplicity of thought everywhere permeates 
this quaint old work, than which nothing more art- 
less, simple, and unique exists in literature, and 
nothing with a higher value as a presentation of the 
taste in fiction of our mediaeval predecessors. 

Yet the " Morte Darthur " is not easy or attrac- 
tive reading, to other than special students of litera- 
ture. Aside from its confusion of events and 
arrangement, it tells the story of chivalry with a 
monotonous lack of inflection that is apt to grow 
wearisome, and in a largely obsolete style and dialect 
with whose difficulties readers in general may not 
care to grapple. Its pages present an endless suc- 
cession of single combats with spear and sword, 


whose details are repeated with wearisome iteration. 
Knights fight furiously for hours together, till they 
are carved with deep wounds, and the ground crim- 
soned with gore. Sometimes they are so inconsid- 
erate as to die, sometimes so weak as to seek a 
leech, but as often they mount and ride away in 
philosophical disregard of their wounds, and come 
up fresh for as fierce a fight the next day. 

As for a background of scenery and architecture, 
it scarcely exists. Deep interest in man and woman 
seems to have shut out all scenic accessories from 
the mind of the good old knight. It is always but 
a step from the castle to the forest, into which the 
knights-errant plunge, and where most of their 
adventures take place; and the favorite resting- 
and jousting-place is by the side of forest springs 
or wells, as in the text. We have mention abun- 
dant of fair castles, fair valleys, fair meadows, and 
the like, the adjective " fair ' going far to serve 
all needs of description. But in his human char- 
acters, with their loves and hates, jousts and battles, 
bewitchments and bewilderments, the author takes 
deep interest, and follows the episodical stories 
which are woven into the plot with a somewhat 
too satisfying fulness. In evidence of the dramatic 
character of many of these episodes we need but 
refer to the " Idyls of the King/' whose various 
romantic and tragic narratives are all derived from 
this quaint " old master *' of fictitious literature. 

With all its faults of style and method, the 
" Morte Darthur ' is a very live book. It never 
stops to moralize or philosophize, but keeps strictly 
to its business of tale-telling, bringing up before 


the reader a group of real men and women, not a 
series of lay-figures on a background of romance, 
as in his originals. 

Kay with his satirical tongue, Dinadan with his 
love of fun, Tristram loving and noble, Lancelot 
bold and chivalrous, Gawaine treacherous and im- 
placable, Arthur kingly but adventurous, Mark 
cowardly and base-hearted, Guenever jealous but 
queenly, Isolde tender and faithful, and a host of 
other clearly individualized knights and ladies move 
in rapid succession through the pages of the 
romance, giving it, with its manners of a remote 
age, a vital interest that appeals to modern tastes. 

In attempting to adapt this old masterpiece to 
the readers of our own day, we have no purpose 
to seek to paraphrase or improve on Malory. To 
remove the antique flavor would be to destroy the 
spirit of the work. We shall leave it as we find 
it, other than to reduce its obsolete phraseology 
and crudities of style to modern English, abridge 
the narrative where it is wearisomely extended, 
omit repetitions and uninteresting incidents, reduce 
its confusion of arrangement, attempt a more artis- 
tic division into books and chapters, and by other 
arts of editorial revision seek to make it easier read- 
ing, while preserving as fully as possible those 
unique characteristics which have long made it 
delightful to lovers of old literature. 

The task here undertaken is no light one, nor is 
success in it assured. Malory has an individuality 
of his own which gives a peculiar charm to his 
work, and to retain this in a modernized version 
is the purpose with which we set out and which 



we hope to accomplish. The world of to-day is full 
of fiction, endless transcripts of modern life served 
up in a great variety of palatable forms. Our 
castle-living forefathers were not so abundantly 
favored. They had no books, and could not have 
read them if they had, but the wandering minstrel 
took with them the place of the modern volume, 
bearing from castle to court, and court to castle, 
his budget of romances of magic and chivalry, and 
delighting the hard-hitting knights and barons of 
that day with stirring ballads and warlike tales 
to which their souls rose in passionate response. 

In the " Morte Darthur *' is preserved to us the 
pith of the best of those old romances, brought' into 
a continuous narrative by one who lived when chiv- 
alry yet retained some of its vital hold on the minds 
of men, and who, being a knight himself, could 
enter with heartfelt sympathy into the deeds of the 
knights of an earlier age. Certainly many of the 
readers of modern fiction will find a pleasure in 
turning aside awhile from the hot-pressed thought 
of the nineteenth-century novel to this fresh and 
breezy outcrop from the fiction of an earlier day; 
with the double purpose of learning on what food 
the minds of our ancestors were fed, and of gaining 
a breath of wild perfume from the far-off field of 
the romance of chivalry. That the story of Arthur 
and his Knights can arouse in modern readers the 
intense interest with which it was received by 
mediaeval auditors is not to be expected. We are 
too far removed in time and manners from the age 
of knight-errantry to enter deeply into sympathy 
with its unfamiliar ways. Yet a milder interest 


may still be awakened in what gave our predecessors 
such enthusiastic delight, and some at least may 
turn with pleasure from the most philosophic of 
modern novels to wander awhile through this primi- 
tive domain of thought. 

To such we offer this work, which we have simply 
sought to make easy reading, with little further 
liberty with Malory's quaint prose than to put it 
into a modern dress, and with the hope that no such 
complete divorce exists between the world of the 
present and that of the past as to render the exploits 
of King Arthur and his Eound Table Knights dull, 
wearisome, and profitless reading, void of the human 
interest which they once possessed in such large and 
satisfying measure. 







ONCE upon a time, in that far-off and famous 
era of chivalry and knight-errantry when wander- 
ing knights sought adventures far and wide through- 
out the land, and no damsel in distress failed to 
enlist a valiant champion in her cause, there reigned 
over England's broad realm a noble monarch, King 
Arthur by name, the flower of chivalry, and the 
founder of the world-renowned order of Knights 
of the Round Table. It is the story of this far- 
famed monarch, and of the wonderful and valorous 
deeds of his Knights, that we here propose to tell, 
as preserved in the ancient legends of the land, 
and set forth at length in the chronicles of the days 
of chivalry. 

Before the days of Arthur the King, there reigned 
over all England Uther Pendragon, a monarch of 



might and renown. He died at length in years 
and honor, and after his death anarchy long pre- 
vailed in the land, for no son of his appeared to 
claim the throne, and many of the lords who were 
high in rank and strong in men sought to win it 
by force of arms, while everywhere lawlessness and 
wrong-doing made life a burden and wealth a deceit. 

But by good fortune there still survived the 
famous magician Merlin, the master of all mys- 
teries, who long had been the stay of Uther's throne, 
and in whose hands lay the destiny of the realm. 
For after years of anarchy, and when men had 
almost lost hope of right and justice, Merlin, fore- 
seeing that the time for a change was at hand, went 
to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and bade him sum- 
mon to London by Christmas day all the lords 
of the realm and the gentlemen of arms, for on that 
day a miracle would be shown by which would be 
decided who should be ruler of the kingless realm. 

The summons was issued, and bv Christmas-tide 

f \t 

many lords and knights, the flower of England's 
chivalry, had gathered in London, most of them 
full of ambition and many of them buoyed up by 
hope. In the greatest church of that city prayers 
went up night and day, all who had been guilty 
of wrong-doing seeking to clear their souls of sin; 
for all believed that only through God's grace could 
any man come to dominion in the realm, and those 
who aspired to the throne ardently sought to make 
their peace with God. 

On Christmas day, after the hour of matins and 
the first mass, came the miracle which Merlin had 
predicted; for there suddenly appeared before the 


high altar in the church-yard a great four-square 
block of stone, of the texture of marble, upon which 
stood an anvil of steel a foot in height ; and through 
the anvil and deep into the stone was thrust a 
gleaming sword, upon which, in letters of gold, 
ran these words, " Whoso pulleth this sword out of 
this stone is of right born king of all England." 

Whether Merlin performed this strange thing 
by magic, or it was a miracle of God's will, the 
chronicles say not, but all who saw it deeply mar- 
velled, and word of it was brought to the archbishop 
in the church. 

" Let no man stir," he enjoined. " This is God's 
doing, and must be dealt with gravely and solemnly. 
I command that all stay within the church and pray 
unto God until the high mass be done. Till then 
let no hand touch the sword." 

And so the service went on until its end; but 
after it was done the audience hastened to behold 
the miracle, and some of the higher lords, who 
were ambitious for the throne, laid eager hold upon 
the sword and sought with all their strength to 
draw it. Yet all in vain they tugged ; the mightiest 
among them could not stir the deep-thrust blade. 

" The man is not here," said the archbishop, 
" who shall draw that sword ; but God, in His own 
good season, will make him known. This, then, is 
my counsel : let us set ten knights, men of fame 
and honor, to guard the sword, and let every man 
that has faith in his good fortune seek to draw it. 
He who is the destined monarch of England will 
in time appear." 

New Year's day came, and no man yet had drawn 


the sword, though many had adventured. For 
that day the barons had ordered that a stately tour- 
nament should be held, in which all knights who 
desired to break a lance for God and their ladies 
might take part. This was greeted with high 
acclaim, and after the services of the day had ended 
the barons and knights together rode to the lists, 
while multitudes of the citizens of London crowded 
thither to witness the knightly sports. Among 
those who rode were Sir Hector, a noble lord, who 
held domains in England and Wales, and with him 
his son Sir Kay, a new-made knight, and his 
younger son Arthur, a youth still too young for 

As they rode together to the lists, Kay discovered 
that he had forgotten his sword, having left it 
behind at his father's lodging. He begged young 
Arthur to ride back for it. 

" Trust me to bring it/' replied Arthur, readily, 
and turning his horse he rode briskly back to his 
father's lodging in the city. On reaching the house, 
however, he found it fast locked, all its inmates 
having gone to the tournament. The young man 
stood a moment in anger and indecision. 

" My brother Kay shall not be without a sword," 
he said. " I remember seeing in the church-yard 
a handsome blade thrust into a stone, and seeming 
to want an owner. I shall ride thither and get 
that sword. It will serve Kay's turn." 

He accordingly turned his horse and rode back 
in all haste. On reaching the church-yard he found 
no knights there, all those who had been placed on 
guard having gone to the jousting, exchanging duty 


for sport. Dismounting and tying his horse, he 
entered the tent which had been erected over the 
stone. There stood the magic sword, its jewelled 
hilt and half the shining blade revealed. Heedless 
of the inscription on the polished steel, and ignorant 
of its lofty promise, for the miracle had been kept 
secret by the knights, young Arthur seized the 
weapon strongly by the hilt and gave the magic 
sword a vigorous pull. Then a wondrous thing 
happened, which it was a pity there were none to 
see; for the blade came easily out of stone and 
steel, as though they were yielding clay, and lay 
naked in his hand. Not knowing the might and 
meaning of what he had done, and thinking of 
naught but to keep his word, the young man 
mounted his horse and rode to the field, where he 
delivered the sword to his brother Sir Kay. 

" I have brought your sword," he said. 

The young knight started with surprise on behold- 
ing the blade, and gazed on it with wonder and 
trepidation. It was not his, he knew, and he recog- 
nized it at sight for the magic blade. But ambition 
quickly banished the wonder from his heart, and he 
rode hastily to his father, Sir Hector, exclaiming, 

" Behold ! Here is the sword of the stone ! I that 
bear it am the destined king of England's realm." 

Sir Hector looked at him in doubt, and beheld 
the blade he bore with deep surprise. 

"When and how did you obtain it?' ; he de- 
manded. " Back to the church ! Come with us, 
Arthur. Here is a mystery that must be explained/' 

Reaching the church, he made Kay swear upon 
the book how he came by that weapon, for greatly 
he doubted. 


" I have not said I drew it," Kay replied, sul- 
lenly. " In truth, it was not achieved by me. 
Arthur brought me the sword." 

" Arthur ! " cried the lord. " Arthur brought 
it ! How got you it, boy ? ' 

" I pulled it from the stone," replied the youth. 
" Kay sent me home for his sword, but the house 
was empty and locked; and as I did not wish my 
brother to be without a weapon, I rode hither and 
pulled this blade out of the stone. Was there aught 
strange in that? It came out easily enough." 

" Were there no knights about it ? ' 

" None, sir." 

" Then the truth is plain. God's will has been 
revealed. You are the destined king of England." 

" I ? " cried Arthur, in surprise. " Wherefore 

" God has willed it so," repeated the baron. 
" But I must first learn for myself if you have truly 
drawn the sword. Can you put it back again ? ' 

"I can try," said Arthur, and with an easy 
thrust he sunk the blade deeply into the stone. 

Then Sir Hector and Kay pulled at the hilt with 
all their strength, but failed to move the weapon. 

" Now you shall try," they said to Arthur. 

Thereupon the youth seized the hilt, and with 
a light effort the magic sword came out naked in 
his hand. 

" You are our king ! " cried Sir Hector, kneeling 
on the earth, and Kay beside him. 

" My dear father and brother," cried Arthur in 
surprise and distress, " why kneel you to me ? Rise, 
I pray ; it pains me deeply to see you thus." 





" I am not your father nor of your kindred," 
rejoined the baron. " I must now reveal the secret 
I long have kept. You were brought to me in 
infancy, and I and my wife have fostered you as 
our own. But you are no son of mine. Who you 
truly are I cannot say; that only Merlin the magi- 
cian knows. But well I feel assured you are of 
nobler blood than I can boast." 

These words filled Arthur with heartfelt pain. 
He had long revered the worthy knight as his father, 
and it grieved him deeply to learn that those whom 
he had so warmly loved were not of kin to him. 

" Sir," said Hector, " will you be my good and 
gracious lord when you are king ? ' 

" You, my father, and your good lady, my 
mother, to whom else in all the world am I so 
beholden ? ' rejoined Arthur, warmly. " God for- 
bid that I should fail you in whatever you may 
desire, if by His will and grace I shall be made 

" This only I ask of you," said the baron : " that 
you make Kay, my son and your foster-brother, the 
seneschal of all your lands." 

"By the faith of my body, I promise," said 
Arthur. " ISTo man but he shall have that office 
while he and I live." 

These words said, Sir Hector went to the arch- 
bishop and told him, much to his surprise, of the 
marvel that had been performed. By the advice 
of the prelate it was kept secret until Twelfth Day, 
when the barons came again, and another effort was 
made to draw the sword. 

After all had tried and failed, Arthur was brought 


forward, and while many sneered at his youth and 
asked why a boy had been brought thither, he seized 
the hilt and lightly drew the blade from the stone. 
Then all stood aghast in wonder, marvelling greatly 
to see a youth perform the feat which the strongest 
knights in the kingdom had attempted in vain; 
but many beheld it with bitter anger and hostile 

" Who is this boy ? " they cried. " What royal 
blood can he claim? Shall we and the realm of 
England be shamed by being governed by a base- 
born churl? There is fraud or magic in this." 

So high ran the tide of adverse feeling that the 
archbishop finally decided that another trial should 
be had at Candlemas, ten knights meanwhile closely 
guarding the stone. And when Candlemas day 
arrived there came many more great lords, each 
eager for the throne; but, as before, of all there 
none but Arthur could draw the magic sword. 

Again was there envy and hostility, and another 
trial was loudly demanded, the time being fixed for 
Easter. This ended as before, and at the demand 
of the angry lords a final trial was arranged for 
the feast of Pentecost. The archbishop now, at 
Merlin's suggestion, surrounded Arthur with a body- 
guard of tried warriors, some of whom had been 
IJther Pendragon's best and worthiest knights; for 
it was feared that some of his enemies might seek 
to do him harm. They were bidden to keep watch 
over him day and night till the season of Pente- 
cost, for there were lords that would have slain him 
had they dared. 

At the feast of Pentecost lords and knights gath- 


ered again, but in vain they all essayed to draw the 
magic sword. Only to the hand of Arthur would 
it yield, and he pulled it lightly from the stone and 
steel in the presence of all the lords and commons. 
Then cried the commons in loud acclaim, 

" Arthur shall be our king ! We will have none 
to reign over us but him ! Let there be no more 
delay. God has willed that he shall be England's 
king, and he that holdeth out longer against the 
will of God that man shall we slay/ 7 

Then rich and poor alike kneeled before Arthur, 
hailed him as king, and craved his pardon for their 
long delay. He forgave them freely, and taking 
the sword between his hands, laid it upon the altar 
before the archbishop. This done, he was made a 
knight by the worthiest warrior there, and thus 
taken into that noble fellowship of chivalry which 
he was destined by his valor and virtue to so richly 

Shortly afterward Arthur was crowned king, 
with great pomp and ceremony, before a noble 
assemblage of the lords and ladies of the realm, tak- 
ing solemn oath at the coronation to be true king to 
lords and commons, and to deal justice to all while 
he should live. 

Justice, indeed, was greatly and urgently de- 
manded, for many wrongs had been done since the 
death of King Uther, and numerous complaints 
were laid before the throne. All these evils Arthur 
redressed, forcing those who had wrongfully taken 
the lands of others to return them, and demanding 
that all should submit to the laws of the realm. In 
compliance with his promise, Sir Kay was made 


seneschal of England, while other knights were 
appointed to the remaining high offices of the realm, 
and all the needs of the kingdom duly provided for. 
Thus the famous reign of King Arthur auspiciously 
began, with God's and man's blessing upon its early 


AFTER Arthur was crowned king he removed 
into Wales, where he gave orders that a great feast 
should be held on the coming day of Pentecost, 
at the city of Carlion. On the day appointed for 
the feast there appeared before Carlion the Kings 
of Lothian and Orkney, Gore, Garloth, Carados, 
and Scotland, each with a large following of knights. 
Their coming greatly pleased King Arthur, who 
believed that they desired to do honor to his reign, 
and he sent presents of great value to them and to 
their knights. 

These they disdainfully refused, sending back a 
hostile challenge by the messenger, and saying that 
they had not come to receive gifts from a beardless 
boy, of ignoble blood, but to present him gifts with 
hard swords between neck and shoulder. It was a 
shame, they said, to see such a boy at the head of 
so noble a realm, and this wrong should be redressed 
at their hands. 

On receiving this defiant message, Arthur threw 


himself, with five hundred good men, into a strong 
tower near Carlion, for he was ill prepared for 
attack. There he was closely besieged by his foes, 
but the castle was well victualled, and held out 
stoutly against its assailants. 

During the siege Merlin appeared suddenly 
among the kings, and told them privately who 
Arthur really was, assuring them that he was of 
nobler blood than themselves, and was destined 
long to remain king of England, and to reduce 
Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to his sway. Some 
of the hostile monarchs believed the magician's 
story, but others doubted it, King Lot of Orkney 
laughing him to scorn, while some among them 
called him a prating wizard. 

But it was agreed that they should hold a confer- 
ence with Arthur, they promising if he came out 
to them to place no hindrance to his safe return. 
Merlin then sought the king and advised him to 
accept the conference, telling him that he had noth- 
ing to fear. Thereupon Arthur armed himself, and 
taking with him the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
several noble knights, went out boldly to meet his 

The conference was an angry and bitter one, the 
kings speaking strongly, and Arthur answering 
them with stout words of defiance, in which he 
told them plainly that if he lived he would make 
them bow to his throne. In the end they parted in 
wrath, the kings returning to their camp and Arthur 
to the tower. 

" What do you propose to do ? ' said Merlin to 
the kings. " If you take a wise man's advice you 


will withdraw, for I tell you that you shall not 
prevail here, were you ten times as many." 

" We are not the men to be advised by a dream- 
reader/' answered King Lot. " If you are the wise 
man you say, you will take yourself away." At 
this reply Merlin magically vanished from among 
them, and immediately appeared to King Arthur in 
the tower, bidding him boldly to sally forth and 
attack his enemies, and trust to fortune and valor 
for success. Meanwhile three hundred of the best 
knights of the kings had deserted their ranks and 
come to join him, much to his comfort, for he had 
been greatly outnumbered. 

" Sir," said Merlin, " fight not with the sword 
that you had by miracle, till you see things go to 
the worst; then draw it out and strike shrewdly 
for your throne." 

These words said, Arthur sallied from the tower 
at the head of all his knights, and fell fiercely on 
the besiegers in their camp. All went down before 
his bold assault, the hosts of the hostile kings 
retreating in dismay. Great deeds were done that 
day, Sir Kay and other knights slaying all before 
them, while Arthur laid on nobly, and did such 
marvellous feats of arms that all who saw him 
wondered greatly, for until now he had been an 
untried youth. While the combat thus went on in 
Arthur's favor in front, King Lot and others of the 
kings made a detour and set fiercely upon his force 
from the rear, causing momentary dismay in his 
ranks. But Arthur wheeled alertly with his 
knights, and smote vigorously to right and left, 
keeping always in the foremost press, till his horse 


was slain beneath him, and he hurled to the ground. 

King Lot took instant advantage of this, and with 
a mighty blow prostrated the unhorsed king. But 
his knights hastily surrounded him, drove back his 
crowding foes, and set him on horseback again. 
And now King Arthur drew the magic sword, and 
as he waved it in the air there flashed from it a 
gleaming lustre that blinded the eyes of his enemies. 
Back they went before him, many of them falling 
under his mighty blows, while his valiant knights 
followed hotly in the track of the flaming sword, 
and the enemy fled in panic fear. 

Then the people of Carlion, seeing the enemy 
in retreat, came out with clubs and staves, and 
fell upon the defeated host, killing numbers of the 
dismounted knights; while the hostile kings, with 
such of their followers as remained alive, fled in 
all haste from the disastrous field, leaving the vic- 
tory to Arthur and his knights. 

Thus ended in victory the first battle of Arthur's 
famous reign. It was but the prelude to a greatei 
one, the mighty deeds of which the chroniclers tell 
at great length, but of which we shall give but brief 
record. It was predicted by Merlin, who told the 
king that he should have to fight far more strongly 
for his crown, that the defeated kings would get 
others to join them, and would ere long proceed 
against him with a mighty force. 

" I warn you," he said to the king and his coun- 
cil, "that your enemies are very strong, for they 
have entered into alliance with four other kings 
and a mighty duke, and unless our king obtain 
powerful allies he shall be overcome and slain." 


" What then shall we do ? ' asked the barons. 

" I shall tell you/ 7 said Merlin. " There are two 
brethren beyond the sea, both kings, and marvel- 
lously valiant men. One of these is King Ban of 
Benwick, and the other King Bors of Gaul. These 
monarchs are at war with a mighty warrior, King 
Claudas. My counsel then is, that our king ask 
the aid of these monarchs in his wars, and engage 
in return to help them in their war with their foe/ 7 

" It is well counselled," said the king and his 

Accordingly two knights with letters were sent 
across the seas, and after various adventures reached 
the camp of Kings Ban and Bors. These valiant 
monarchs gladly responded to Arthur's request, 
and, leaving their castles well guarded, came with 
ten thousand of their best men to the aid of the 
youthful king. Then were held great feasts, and a 
noble tournament was given on All-hallowmas day, 
at which Sir Kay carried off the honors of the lists 
and received the prize of valor. 

But sport had soon to give place to war, for the 
hostile kings, now eleven in all, with a host of fifty 
thousand mounted men and ten thousand footmen, 
were marching upon King Arthur's camp, then 
at the Castle of Bedegraine, in Sherwood forest. 

Two nights before the hosts met in battle, one of 
the hostile leaders, known as the king with the 
hundred knights, dreamed a wondrous dream. It 
seemed to him that there came a mighty wind, which 
blew down all their castles and towns, and that then 
there came a great flood and carried all away. All 
who heard this dream said that it was a token of 


great battle, but by its portent none were dismayed, 
for they felt too secure in their strength to heed the 
warning of a dream. 

Soon the two armies drew together, and encamped 
at no great distance asunder. Then, by advice of 
Merlin, a midnight attack was made by Arthur and 
his allies upon the host of the eleven kings, as they 
lay sleeping in their tents. But their sentinels 
were alert, the sound of the coming host reached 
their wakeful ears, and loud the cry ran through 
the camp: 

" To arms ! lords and knights, to arms ! The 
enemy is upon us ! To arms ! to arms ! ' 

On like a wave of war came the force of Arthur, 
Ban, and Bors. The tents were overthrown, and all 
the valor of the eleven kings was needed to save 
their army from defeat. So fiercely went the 
assault that by day-dawn ten thousand of their men 
lay dead upon the field, while Arthur's loss was 
but small. 

By Merlin's advice, while it was yet dark the 
forces of Ban and Bors had been placed in ambush 
in the forest. Then Arthur, with his own army of 
twenty thousand men, set fiercely on the overwhelm- 
ing force of the foe, and deeds of mighty prowess 
were done, men falling like leaves, and many knights 
of tried valor staining the earth with their blood. 

Fiercely went the combat, hand to hand and blade 
to blade, till the field was strewn with the dead, 
while none could tell how the battle would end. 
But when Kings Ban and Bors broke from their 
ambush, with ten thousand fresh men, the tide of 
battle turned against the foe. Back they went, step 



by step, many of their men taking to flight, and 
hundreds falling in death. King Bors did marvellous 
deeds of arms. King Ban, whose horse was killed, 
fought on foot like an enraged lion, standing among 
dead men and horses, and felling all who came with- 
in reach of his sword. As for King Arthur,, his 
armor was so covered with crimson stains that no 
man knew him, and his horse went fetlock deep in 

When night approached, the hostile force was 
driven across a little stream, the eleven warrior 
kings still valiantly facing the victorious foe. 

Then came Merlin into the press of struggling 
knights, mounted on a great black horse, and cried 
to Arthur, 

"Wilt thou never have done? Of threescore 
thousand men this day thou hast left alive but 
fifteen thousand, and it is time to cry, Halt ! I 
bid you withdraw, for if you continue the battle 
fortune will turn against you. As for these kings, 
you will have no trouble with them for three years 
to come, for more than forty thousand Saracens 
have landed in their country, and are burning and 
despoiling all before them." 

This advice was taken, and the defeated kings 
were allowed to withdraw the remnant of their 
forces without further harm, while King Arthur 
richly rewarded his allies and their knights from 
the treasure found in the hostile camp. 

Thus was King Arthur seated firmly on his throne. 
But who he was he knew not yet, for the mystery 
that lay over his birth Merlin had never revealed. 
After the battle Merlin went to his master Bleise, 


who dwelt in Northumberland, and told him the 
events of the mighty contest. These Bleise wrote 
down, word by word, as he did the after-events of 
King Arthur's reign, and the deeds of his valiant 
knights. And so was made the chronicle of the 
great achievements of arms, and the adventures 
of errant knights, from which this history is drawn. 

Of some things that Merlin further did we must 
here speak. While Arthur dwelt in the castle of 
Bedegraine, Merlin came to him so disguised that 
the king knew him not. He was all befurred in 
black sheepskins, with a great pair of boots and a 
bow and arrows, and brought wild geese in his hand, 
as though he had been a huntsman. 

" Sir," he said to the king, " will you give me a 


" Why should I do so, churl ? ' asked the king. 

" You had better give me a gift from what you 
have in hand than to lose great riches which are 
now out of your reach; for here, where the battle 
was fought, is great treasure hidden in the earth." 

" Who told you that, churl ? " 

" Merlin told me so." 

Then was the king abashed, for he now knew 
that it was Merlin who spoke, and it troubled him 
that he had not known his best friend. 

Afterward, on a day when Arthur had been hunt- 
ing in the forest, and while he sat in deep thought 
over a strange dream he had dreamed and some 
sinful deeds he had done, there came to him a child 
of fourteen years, and asked him why he was so 

" I may well be so," replied Arthur, " for I have 
much to make me think." 


" I know that well," said the seeming child, 
" also who thou art and all thy thoughts. I can 
tell thee who was thy father and how and when 
thou wert born." 

" That is false," rejoined the king. " How 
should a boy of your years know my father ? 9 

" He was Uther Pendragon, the king," replied 
the seeming boy, " and you are of royal blood." 

" How can you know that ? I will not believe 
you without better proof," said Arthur. 

At these words the child departed, but quickly 
after there came to the king an old man of four- 
score years. 


" Why are you so sad ? ' asked the old man. 

" For many things," replied Arthur. " Here 
but now was a child who told me things which it 
seems to me he could not know." 

" He told you the truth," said the old man, " and 
would have told you more if you had listened. 

/ / 

This I am bidden to tell you, that you have done 
things which have displeased God, and that your 
sister shall bear a son who will destroy you and all 
the knights of your land. That is the meaning of 
your dream in which griffons and serpents burnt 
and slew all before them, and wounded you to the 

" Who are you," said Arthur, " that tell me these 
things ? " 

" I am Merlin," replied the old man. " And I 
was the child who came to you." 

"You are a marvellous man," replied Arthur. 
" But how can you know that I shall die in battle ? ' 

" How I know matters not, but this much more 


I am bidden to tell you : your death will be a noble 
one; but I shall die a shameful death, and shall 
be put in the earth alive for my follies. Such is the 
voice of destiny." 

While they conversed thus, horses were brought 
to the king, and he and Merlin mounted and rode 
to Carlion. Here Arthur told Sir Hector what 
he had heard, and asked if it were true. 

" I believe it to be the truth," answered the old 
baron. " Merlin has told me that the child he 
brought to my castle was the son of King Uther 
Pendragon and of Queen Igraine, his wife/ 7 

But Arthur was not yet convinced, and sent in 
all haste for Queen Igraine, who dwelt in a castle 
not far away, and came quickly with Morgan le Fay, 
her daughter, a fair lady, and one who had been 
taught all the arts of necromancy. 

The king welcomed her with rich cheer, and made 
a feast in her honor, without saying why he had 
asked her to his court. But when the feast was 
at its height, Sir Ulfius, the chamberlain, and a 
knight of worth and honor, rose in the midst, and 
boldly accused the queen of falsehood and treason. 

" Beware what you say/' cried the king. " Those 
are strong words, and this lady is my guest." 

" I am well advised of what I say/' replied Ulfius, 
" and here is my glove to prove it upon any man 
who shall deny it. I declare that Queen Igraine 
is the cause of your great wars and of deep damage 
to your throne. Had she told in the life of King 
Uther of the birth of her son you would have been 
spared your wars, for most of your barons know 
not to-day of what blood you were born. There- 


fore I declare her false to God, to you, and to all 
your realm, and if any man shall say me nay I 
stand ready to prove it upon his body." 

" I am a woman, and I may not fight," said Queen 
Igraine to this. " But there are men here will take 
my quarrel. Merlin will bear me witness that it 
was King Uther's wish, for reasons of state, that 
the birth of my child should be concealed, and if 
you seek a traitor you should accuse Uther Pen- 
dragon and not me. At its birth the child was 
wrapped in cloth of gold, by order of the king, 
and taken from me, and from that day to this I 
have not set eyes upon my son." 

" Then," said Ulfius, " Merlin is more to blame 
than you." 

" I bowed to the will of my husband," replied 
the queen. " After the death of my lord, the Duke 
of Tintagel, King Uther married me, and I bore 
him a son, but I know not what has become of my 

Then Merlin took the king by the hand and 
led him to Queen Igraine. 

" This is your mother," he said. 

Therewith, Sir Hector bore witness how the child 
has been brought by Merlin to the postern gate 
of his castle, wrapped in cloth of gold, and how he 
had reared him as his own son, knowing not who 
he was, but full sure he was of high birth. 

These words removed all doubt from Arthur's 
mind, and with warm affection he took his mother 
in his arms, and kissed her lovingly, while tears 
of joy flowed freely from the eyes of mother and 
son, for never was gladder meeting than that which 
there took place. 


For eight days thereafter feasts and sports were 
held at the castle, and great joy fell upon all men 
to learn that the son of great Uther Pendragon had 
come to the throne. And far and wide the story 
spread through the land that he who had drawn 
the magic sword was the rightful heir to England's 



ON a day at the end of the feasts given by King 
Arthur in honor of his mother, there came into 
the court a squire, who bore before him on his horse 
a knight that had been wounded unto death. He 
told how a stranger knight in the forest had set 
up a pavilion by a well, and forced all who passed 
to joust with him. This stranger had slain his 
master, and he begged that some champion would 
revenge the slain knight. 

Then rose Griflet, a youthful squire who had 
done good service in the wars, and begged to be 
knighted, that he might undertake this adventure. 

" Thou art but young for such a task," said 

" I beseech you for the honor of it," pleaded 
Griflet. " I have done you knightly service." 

Thereupon he was knighted and armed, and rode 
at day-dawn with a high heart into the forest. 
But by night-fall back he came, with a spear-thrust 


through his body, and scarce able to sit his horse 
for weakness. He had met the knight, and barely 
escaped with his life. 

This angered the king, and he determined to 
undertake the adventure himself, and to seek to 
punish the daring knight who had planted him- 
self, with hostile purpose, so near his court. By 
his order his best armor and horse were set before 
day at a point outside the city, and at day-dawn 
he met there his squire and rode with him secretly 
into the forest. 

On the way thither he met three churls, who 
were chasing Merlin and seeking to slay him. The 
king rode to them and sternly bade them desist, 
and on seeing a knight before them they fled in 
craven fear. 

"0 Merlin," cried Arthur, "for all your craft 
you would have been slain, had I not come to 
your aid/' 

" Not so. I but played with these churls," said 
Merlin. " I could have saved myself easily enough. 
You are far more near your end than I, for unless 
God be your friend you ride to your death." 

As they conversed they came to the forest foun- 
tain, and saw there a rich pavilion, while under a 
cloth stood a fair horse, richly saddled and bridled, 
and on a tree was a shield of varied colors and a 
great spear. In a chair near by sat an armed 

" How is it, sir knight," asked the king, sternly, 
"that you abide here and force every knight that 
passes to joust with you? It is an ill custom, and 
I bid you cease it." 




" He who is grieved with my custom may amend 
it if he will," said the knight. 

I shall amend it," said Arthur. 

I shall defend it," replied the knight. 

With these words they mounted, placed their 
spears in rest, and put their horses to their speed. 
Together they came in mid career with such vio- 
lence and equal fortune that both spears were 
shivered to splinters, but both knights remained 
in their saddles. Taking new spears, once more 
they rode, and once again met in mid course with 
the same fortune as before. Then Arthur set hand 
to his sword. 

" Nay," said the knight. " You are the best 
j ouster of all the men I ever met. For the love 
of the high order of knighthood let us break another 

" I agree," said Arthur. 

Two more spears were brought them, and again 
they rode together with all the might and speed 
of their horses. Arthur's spear once more shiv- 
ered into splinters from point to handle. But the 
knight struck him so fairly in the centre of his 
shield that horse and man together fell to the earth. 

Then Arthur drew his sword eagerly and cried: 

" Sir knight, I have lost the honor of horseback, 
and will fight you on foot." 

" I will meet you on horse," replied the knight. 

Angry at this, Arthur advanced towards him with 
ready shield and sword. But the knight, feeling 
that he was taking a noble adversary at unfair 
advantage, dismounted, and advanced to meet 
Arthur on foot. 


Then began a mighty battle, in which many great 
sword-strokes were made, and much blood was lost 
by both antagonists. After the affray had long con- 
tinued the two warriors by chance struck so evenly 
together that their swords met in mid air, and the 
weapon of the knight smote that of Arthur into 
two pieces. 

" You are in my power/' cried the knight. 
" Yield you as overcome and recreant, or you shall 

" As for death/' said Arthur, " it will be wel- 
come when it comes, but I had rather die than be 
so shamed." 

Thus saying, he leaped upon his foeman, took 
him by the middle with a vigorous grip, and threw 
him to the earth. Then he tore off his helmet. 
The knight, however, was much the larger and 
stronger man, and in his turn brought Arthur under 
him, deprived him of his helmet, and lifted his 
sword to strike off his head. 

At this perilous moment Merlin advanced. 

" Knight, hold thy hand," he cried. " You little 
know in what peril you put this realm, or who 
the warrior is beneath your sword." 

" Who is he ? " asked the knight. 

" He is King Arthur." 

Then would the knight have slain Arthur for 
fear of his wrath, and raised his sword again to 
do so, but at that moment Merlin threw him into 
an enchanted sleep. 

" What have you done, Merlin ? ' cried Arthur. 
" God grant you have not slain this worthy knight 
by your craft ! I would yield a year of my domin- 
ion to have him alive again." 


" Do not fear," said Merlin. " He is asleep only, 
and will awake within three hours. And this I 
shall tell you, there is not a stronger knight in 
your kingdom than he, and hereafter he will do you 
good service. His name is King Pellinore, and he 
shall have two noble sons, whose names will be Per- 
civale and Lamorak of Wales. And this brave 
knight shall, in the time to come, tell you the 
name of that son of your sister who is fated to 
be the destruction of all this land." 

This being said, the king and the magician de- 
parted, leaving the knight to his magic slumbers. 
Soon thev reached the cell of a hermit who was 


a noted leech, and who, with healing salves, in three 
days cured the king's wounds so that he was able 
to ride again. As they now went forward, through 
forest and over plain, Arthur said, 

" I have no sword. I shall be ill put to it should 
I meet a champion." 

" Heed not that," said Merlin. " That loss will 
be soon repaired." 

And so they rode till they came to a lake, a broad 
and fair sheet of water, that stretched far before 
their eyes. As the king stood and looked upon it, 
he saw in its midst, to his deep wonder, an arm 
clothed in white samite lift itself above the water, 
and in the hand appeared a glittering sword, that 
gleamed brightly in the sun's rays. 

"Lo! yonder is the sword I spoke of," said 

Then another wonder met their eyes, for a woman 
came walking towards them upon the surface of 
the lake. 


" What damsel is that ? " asked Arthur. " And 
what means all this wondrous thing ? ' 

" That is the Lady of the Lake," said Merlin. 
" Within that lake is a great rock, and therein is 
a palace as fair as any on the earth, and most richly 
adorned, wherein this lady dwells. When she comes 
to you ask her in courtly phrase for the sword, for 
it is hers to give." 

Soon came the damsel to them and saluted 
Arthur, who courteously returned her salutation. 

" Fair lady," he said, " what sword is it that 
yonder arm holds so strangely above the water? 
I would it were mine, for I have lost my weapon." 

" King Arthur," replied the damsel, " the sword 
you see is mine. But it shall be yours if you will 
promise me a gift when I shall ask it of you." 

" By my faith," rejoined Arthur, " I will give 
you whatever gift you may ask, if it be within reason 
and justice." 

" Then," said the damsel, " go into the barge 
you see yonder and row yourself to the sword, and 
take it and the scabbard. As for the gift, I shall 
bide my time to ask it." 

Arthur and Merlin now alighted and entered 
the boat they saw near by, rowing it to where the 
arm in white samite held up the sword. Reaching 
boldly out, Arthur grasped the weapon by the 
handle, and at once the arm and hand disappeared 
beneath the water, leaving the wondrous blade in 
his hand, and the scabbard with it. 

When they reached the land again the Lady of 
the Lake was gone, and so they mounted and rode 
away from that place of magic. Then Arthur 


looked upon the sword and much he liked it, for 
the blade seemed to him of rare promise. 

" W^hich like you the better, the sword or the 
scabbard ? ' asked Merlin. 

" The sword," answered Arthur. 

" There you lack wisdom," said Merlin, " for 
the scabbard is worth ten of the sword. While you 
wear that scabbard you shall never lose blood, how- 
ever sorely you be wounded, so take good heed to 
keep it always with you." 

So they rode unto Carlion, where Arthur's 
knights were glad enough to see him, for his absence 
had greatly troubled them. And when they heard 
of his adventures they marvelled that he would 
risk his person so alone. But all men of worship 
said that it was merry to be under a chieftain who 
would take upon himself such adventures as poor 
knights loved to meet. 

During the absence of the king a messenger 
had come to the court from King Ryons of North 
W T ales, who was also King of Ireland, and of many 
islands, bearing a message of most insulting pur- 
port. He said that King Ryons had discomfited 
and overcome eleven kings, each of whom had been 
forced to do him homage in the following manner : 
each had sent him his beard, and the king had 
trimmed his mantle with these kings' beards. But 
there lacked one place on the mantle, and he there- 
fore sent for King Arthur's beard to complete the 
fringe. If it were not sent him he would enter the 
land and burn and slay, and never leave till he had 
head and beard together. 

" Well," said Arthur, " you have said your mes- 


sage, and the most villanous one it is that ever 
living man sent unto a king; you may see, more- 
over, that my beard as yet is somewhat too young 
to serve as a trimming to his mantle. This, then, 
you may tell your king. Neither I nor my lords 
owe him any homage. But if he shall not before 
many days do me homage on both his bended knees, 
by the faith of my body he shall lose his head, in 
requital for the shameful and discourteous message 
that he has sent me. Bear you this answer to 
your king." 

And so the messenger departed. 



AND now we have to tell the story of how King 
Arthur got his fair wife Guenever, and how the 
Round Table was brought to England's realm. 

After the defeat of the eleven kings, Arthur 
had rescued King Leodegrance of Cameliard from 
King Ryons, and put the latter with all his host 
to flight. And at the court of Leodegrance he 
saw his charming daughter Guenever, whom he 
ever after loved. 

So it fell upon a time that Arthur said to Mer- 

"My barons give me no peace, but day by day 
insist that I shall take a wife. But whether I 


marry or not, I shall take no step without your 
counsel and advice." 

" Your barons counsel well/ 7 said Merlin. " A 
man of your bounty and nobleness should not be 
without a wife. Is there a^ one woman that 
you love beyond others ? ' 

" Yes, by my faith there is," said Arthur. " I 
love Guenever, the daughter of King Leodegrance, 
of Cameliard, he who has in his house the Round 
Table, which you have told me he had of my father 
King Uther. This damsel is the loveliest lady that 
I know, or could ever hope to find." 

"Of her beauty and fairness no man can ques- 
tion," said Merlin. " If your heart were not set, 
I could find you a damsel of beauty and goodness 
that would please you as well. But where a man's 
heart is fixed there will he turn against the counsel 
of wise and foolish alike." 

" You speak the truth," said Arthur. 

Covertly, however, Merlin warned the king that 
Guenever would bring trouble to his court and 
his heart, and counselled him to weigh well what 
he thought to do. But Arthur's love was warm, 
and the wise man's counsel, as he had said, fell 
like water on a stone. Thereupon Merlin went to 
Cameliard and told King Leodegrance of Arthur's 

" This is to me," said Leodegrance, " the best 
tidings that any man living could bring; that a 
monarch of such prowess and nobleness should ask 
to wed my daughter. Cheerfully will I give her, 
and I would give lands in dowry with her, but of 
that he has enough already. Y r et I can send him 


a gift that will please him far more than lands 
or treasure, no less a gift than the Table Round, 
which Uther Pendragon gave me, and around which 
may be seated a hundred and fifty knights. As 
for myself, I have but a hundred knights worthy 
to sit at the table, but these I will send to Arthur, 
who must complete the tale himself." 

And so, with Guenever, and the Eound Table, 
and the hundred knights, Merlin set out for Lon- 
don, where Arthur then was, and whither the noble 
cavalcade rode in royal procession through the land. 

When King Arthur heard of their coming his 
heart was filled with joy, and he said to those around 

" This fair lady is very welcome to me, for I 
have loved her long. And these knights with the 
Round Table please me more than if the greatest 
riches had been sent, for I value worth and prowess 
far above wealth and honors." 

He ordered the marriage and coronation to be 
prepared for in royal pomp, but with no needless 

" And, Merlin," he said, " I pray you to go and 
seek me out fifty knights of the highest honor and 
valor, to complete the tale of my Round Table 

Merlin went, and in a short time brought twenty- 
eight knights whom he deemed worthy of that high 
honor, but no more could he find. 

Then the Archbishop of Canterbury was brought, 
and he blessed the seats of the Round Table with 
great worship and ceremony, and placed the twenty- 
eight knights in their chairs. When this was done 
Merlin said, 

Copyright by Frederick Hollyer, London, England. 



" Fair sirs, you must all rise and come to King 
Arthur and do him homage. For henceforth you 
are his chosen knights, and must so declare. And 
know you well, that great shall be the future honor 
and fame of all who worthily occupy these seats." 

At this request the knights arose, and did homage 
to the king. And when they had risen from their 
seats there appeared in each in letters of gold the 
name of him who had sat therein. But two seats 
were wanting from the full tale. 

" What is the reason of this ? ' asked Arthur. 
" Why are there two seats lacking ? ' 

" Sir," answered Merlin, " no man shall occupy 
those places but the most worshipful of knights. 
And in the Seat Perilous, which adjoins them, no 
man shall sit but one, and if any one unworthy 
of this honor shall be so hardy as to attempt it, 
he shall be destroyed. He that shall sit there shall 
have no fellow." 

Anon came young Gawaine, the son of King Lot, 
a squire of handsome mien, who asked of the king 
a gift. 

" Ask, and I shall grant it," answered the king. 

" I ask that you make me knight on the day you 
wed fair Guenever." 

" That shall I do willingly," said Arthur, " and 
with what worship I may, since you are my nephew, 
my sister's son." 

[Here it is proper to say that Arthur had three 
sisters, the daughters of Queen Igraine and her first 
husband, the Duke of Tintagil. One of these, Mar- 
gawse, had married King Lot, and had four sons, 
all of whom became valiant knights; Elaine, the 



second, had married King Neutres of Garlot; the 
third sister, Morgan le Fay, had been put to school, 
where she became learned in the art of necromancy ; 
of the fourth the chronicles fail to speak. j 

Hardly had Gawaine spoken when there came 
riding into the court a poor man, who brought with 
him a fair-faced youth, of eighteen years of age, 
riding upon a lean mare. 

" Sir, will you grant me a gift ? ' the old man 
asked of the king. "I was told that you would 
at the time of your marriage grant any gift that 
was asked for in reason." 

"That is true," said the king. "What would 
you have ? ' 

" Jesu save you, most gracious king. I ask noth- 
ing more than that you make my son a knight." 

" It is a great thing you ask," said the king. 
" Who are you, and what claim has your son to this 
high honor ? ' 

" I am but a cowherd, great sir, and am the 
father of thirteen sons. But this one is unlike 
all the rest. He will do no labor, and cares for 
nothing but warlike sports, and seeing knights and 
battles. And day and night he craves for knight- 

" What is thy name ? ' the king asked the young 

" Sir, my name is Tor." 

The king looked at him closely. He was of hand- 
some face, and was very well made and strong of 
limb and body. 

" Where is the sword with which this youth shall 
be made knight ? ' asked the king. 


' It is here/' said Tor. 

" Then draw it from the scabbard, and require me 
to make you a knight." 

At these words the youth sprang lightly and 
gladly from his mare, drew the sword, and kneeled 
before the king, asking him in earnest tones to 
make him a Knight of the Kound Table. 

" A knight I will make you," answered the king. 
" But the Eound Table is not for untried youth." 

Thereupon he smote him upon the neck with the 
sword, and said, 

" Be you a good knight, and I pray God you may 
be so. If you prove of prowess and worth I promise 
you shall in good time have a seat at the Round 

" Now, Merlin," said Arthur, " tell me whether 
this Tor will be a good knight or not." 

" He should be so," answered Merlin, " for he 
comes of kingly blood. The cowherd here is no 
more his father than I, but he is the son of the good 
knight, King Pellinore, whose prowess you have 
much reason to know." 

By good hap King Pellinore himself came next 
morning to the court, and was glad to find what 
honor had been done his son, whom he gladly 
acknowledged as his. 

Then Merlin took Pellinore by the hand and led 
him to the seat next the Seat Perilous. 

"This is your place at the Round Table," he 
said. " There is none here so worthy as yourself 
to sit therein." 

At a later hour of that eventful day, in the city 
of London, and at the Church of Saint Stephen, 


King Arthur was wedded unto Dame Guenever, 
with the highest pomp and ceremony, and before 
as noble an assemblage of knights and ladies as the 
land held. 

Afterwards a high feast was made, and as the 
knights sat, each in his appointed place, at the 
Round Table, Merlin came to them and bade them 
sit still. 

" For you shall see a strange and marvellous 
happening," he said. 

Hardly had he spoken before there came running 
a white hart into the hall, closely followed by a 
white brachet, 1 while thirty couple of black hounds 
in full crv came after, and chased the hart round 


the feasting boards and then round the Round 

As they ran the brachet caught the hart by the 
haunch, and bit out a piece, whereupon the wounded 
animal made a great leap over a table, and through 
a window, with such force as to overthrow a knight. 
Through the w r indow the hounds followed, in full 

The fallen knight quickly rose, took up the 
brachet in his arms, and left the hall. Seeking his 
horse, he rode away, carrying the brachet with him. 
But hardly had he gone when a lady came riding 
into the hall on a white palfrey, and crying aloud 
to King Arthur, 

" Sir, suffer not yonder knight to do me this 
wrong. The brachet that he has taken away is 


1 A small scenting dog. 


She had but ceased speaking when an armed 
knight rode up on a great horse, and took her away 
by force, though she bitterly cried and called for 

" This affair must not be taken lightly/' said 
Merlin to the king. " The honor of your court 
requires that you shall redress all wrongs, and 
here, at your marriage feast, have great wrongs 
been done." 

" What do you advise ? * asked the king. " I 
shall be governed by your counsel/' 

" Then," answered Merlin, " call Sir Gawaine, 
for he must bring again the white hart. Also 
call Sir Tor, for to him must be assigned the adven- 
ture of the knight and the brachet. As for the 
lady and the knight, King Pellinore must bring 
them, or slay the knight if he will not come." 

Thereupon they were all three called, and they 
armed and rode forth on the errands assigned them. 
Many and strange were the adventures of these 
valiant knights, but we have matter of more moment 
to tell, and so cannot relate their valorous deeds. 
We can but say that Gawaine brought back the head 
of the hart, and little honor with it, for by an evil 
accident he killed a lady, and barely escaped with 
life from her champions. 

Sir Tor had better fortune, for he brought the 
brachet alive, and won much honor from his deeds. 

King Pellinore was also successful in his quest, 
for he brought back the lady in safety, after having 
fought with and slain her kidnapper. This lady's 
name was Nimue, and of her we shall have many 
strange things to tell hereafter. 


Thus ended the three quests which followed the 
marriage of King Arthur and Guenever the fair. 
Afterwards the king established his knights, giving 
lands to those who were poor, and enjoining all 
against outrage, and in favor of mercy and gentle- 
ness. He also bade them to succor all ladies in dis- 
tress, and never to engage in a wrongful quarrel, 
or to strive for worldly goods. 

Unto this were sworn all the Knights of the 
Eound Table, old and young. And it was ordained 
that they should renew their oaths every year at the 
high feast of Pentecost, that their obligations might 
never be forgotten, and the honor and renown of 
the glorious fellowship of the Bound Table never 

In this manner began that illustrious career of 
the Knights of the Eound Table, which was destined 
to shed the greatest glory on Arthur's reign, and 
to fill the whole world with its fame. Valorous 
as were the knights who first composed that noble 
order of chivalry, it was afterwards to include such 
world-renowned warriors as Lancelot du Lake, Tris- 
tram de Lyonesse, and others of little less prowess, 
the story of whose noble exploits and thrilling 
adventures was destined to be told by bards and sung 
by minstrels till all time should ring with the tale, 
and men of honor in far future days be stirred to 
emulation of these worthy knights of old. 





IT befell upon a time when King Arthur was 
at London, that tidings came to him that King 
Ryons of North Wales was carrying out his threat. 
He had crossed the borders with an army, and was 
burning and harrying his lands and slaying his 
people without mercy. On learning this the king 
sent word to his lords and knights to assemble with 
all haste at Camelot, where a council would be held 
and measures of defence and reprisal taken. 

And it so fell out that while this assembly was 
in session at Camelot, a damsel came into the court 
who had been sent by the great lady Lile of Avelion. 
When she came before King Arthur she let fall her 
mantle, which was richly furred, and revealed a 
noble sword, with which she was girt. 

" Damsel/' said the king in wonder, " why wear 
you that sword ? It beseems you not." 

" Indeed, sir, it is a sore burden to me," replied 
the damsel, " but I must wear it till a knight of the 
highest honor and virtue can be found to deliver 
me of my charge. None other than such a one 
may draw this sword from its sheath, for so it is 



ordained. I have been to King Ryons's camp, where 
I was told there were knights of high excellence, 
and he and all his knights tried it, but in vain. 
I have therefore come to your court with my burden, 
and hope that the knight fit to draw it may here 
be found/' 

" This is surely a great marvel," said Arthur. 
" I shall try to draw the sword myself ; not that 
I claim to be the best knight, but as an example 
to my barons." 

Then Arthur took the sword by the sheath and 
the girdle, and pulled at it eagerly, but it failed 
to yield. 

" You need not pull so hard/' said the damsel. 
" He who shall draw it will need little strength, 
but much virtue." 

" Now try ye, all my barons/' said Arthur. " But 
beware ye be not defiled with shame, treachery, 
or guile." 

" That is well advised," said the damsel, " for 
none shall draw it but a clean knight without 
villany, and of gentle birth both by father and 

Then most of the Knights of the Round Table 
who were there tried their fortunes, but none 
succeeded in the magic task. 

" Alas ! " said the damsel, " I hoped to find in 
this court the best knights upon earth." 

"By my faith," said Arthur, "the world holds 
no better knights; but it grieves me to find that 
none here seem to have the grace or power to draw 
this sword." 

It happened that at that time there was a poor 


knight of Northumberland birth in Arthur's court, 
Balin by name. He had been held prisoner there 
more than half a year, for slaying a knight who was 
cousin to the king, and had just been set free 
through the good services of some of the barons, 
who knew that he was not at fault in this deed. 

When he learned what was being done his heart 
bade him try his fortune, but he was so poor and 
so shabbily dressed that he held back in shame. 
Yet when the damsel took her leave of Arthur 
and his barons, and was passing from the court, 
Balin called to her and said, 

" Suffer me, I pray you, to try this venture. 
Though I am poorly clad, and but ill considered, I 
feel in my heart that in honor and grace I stand 
as high as any of those knights." 

The damsel looked on him with some disdain, 
and begged him not to put her to useless trouble, 
for he seemed not the man to succeed where so 
many of noble guise had failed. 

" Fair damsel," he replied, " you should well 
know that worthiness and good qualities do not 
dwell in attire, but that manhood and virtue lie 
hidden within man's person, not in his dress; and 
therefore many a worshipful knight is not known 
to all people." 

" You speak wisely/' said the damsel. " You 
shall essay the task, and may fortune befriend 

Then Balin took the sword by the girdle and 
sheath, and drew it out with such ease that king 
and barons alike were filled with wonder, and many 
of the knights, in spite and jealousy, cried that 


Balin had done this not by might, but by witch- 

" He is a good knight/' cried the damsel, " the 
best and worthiest among you all, even if fortune 
has dealt with him shabbily. Now, gentle and 
courteous knight, give me the sword again." 

" No," said Balin, " I have fairly won this sword, 
and well it pleases me. I shall keep it unless it 
be taken from me by force/' 

"You are not wise to keep it," said the damsel. 
" I warn you that if you do so you will slay with 
the sword your best friend and the man you most 
love in the world, and that it will be your destruc- 

" I shall take such adventure as God may ordain 
me," said Balin, " but by the faith of my body I 
shall keep the sword." 

" You will quickly repent it," said the damsel. 
" It is more for your good than for mine that I 
ask it back. I am sad to find that you will not be- 
lieve me, and will bring destruction on yourself. 
The wilful man makes his own destiny." With this 
the damsel departed, in great sorrow. 

Then Balin sent for his horse and his armor, and 
made ready to depart, though Arthur begged him 
to remain. 

" I knew not your worth," he said, " or you should 
not have been so unkindly treated. I was misin- 
formed concerning you." 

" My heartfelt thanks are yours," said Balin. 
" But asking your good grace, I must needs depart." 

" Then tarry not long, fair knight ; you shall 
always be welcome to my court." 


So Balin donned his armor and made ready to 
depart. But while he still tarried there came to 
the court a lady richly attired, and riding on a 
handsome horse. 

She saluted King Arthur, and presented herself 
as the Lady of the Lake, from whom he had re- 
ceived the sword, saying that she had now come to 
demand the gift which he had promised her when- 
ever she should ask for it. 

" A gift I promised you, indeed," said Arthur, 
" and you do well to ask it. But first I would 
know the name of the sword you gave me." 

" The name of it," said the lady, " is Excalibur, 
which signifies cut-steel." 

" Then well is it named," said the king. " Now 
ask what gift you will. If it is in my power to 
present you shall have it." 

" What I ask," said the Lady of the Lake, " is 
the head of the knight who has just won the sword, 
or of the damsel who brought it; or both their 
heads, if you will. He slew my brother, and she 
caused my father's death." 

"Truly," said the king, in pain and wonder, 
" you ask what I cannot in honor grant. Ask what 
you will else and you shall not be denied, but even 
a king cannot pay his debts with murder." 

" I shall ask nothing else," said the lady. " Little 
deemed I that King Arthur would be recreant to 
his word." 

When Balin was told of the demand of the Lady 
of the Lake, he went straight to her, where she 
stood before the king, and said, " Evil you are in 
heart and voice, and evil have ever been. Vile en- 


chantress, you would have my head, and therefore 
shall lose yours." And with a light stroke of his 
sword he smote off her head before the king, so that 
it fell bleeding at his feet. 

" What shame is this ? ' cried Arthur, in hot 
wrath. " Why have you dared treat thus a lady to 
whom I was beholden, and who came here under 
my safe-conduct ? ' 

" Your displeasure grieves me," said Balin. 
" But you know not this lady, or you would not 
blame me for her death, for she was of all women 
the vilest that ever breathed. By enchantment and 
sorcery she has slain many good knights, and I 
have sought her during three years, to repay her 
for the falsehood and treachery by which she caused 
my mother to be burnt." 

" Whatever your grievance, you should not have 
sought your revenge in my presence. You have 
done me a foul disgrace, sir knight. Leave my 
court in all haste while you may, and believe me 
you shall be made to repent this insult to my 

Then Balin took up the head of the lady, and 
meeting his squire at his inn, they rode together 
from the town. 

" Now," said the knight, " we must part. Take 
this head and bear it to my friends in Northum- 
berland, and tell them that my mortal foe is dead. 
Also tell them that I am out of prison, and by 
what adventure I got this sword." 

" You were greatly to blame to displease King 
Arthur," said the squire. 

" As for that," said Balin, " I hope to win his 


grace again by the death or capture of King Ryons, 
whom I go to meet. The woman sought my death, 
and has had her just deserts." 

"Where shall I find you again ?' ; asked the 

"In King Arthur's court." 

And so they parted. Meanwhile King Arthur 
and all the court grieved deeply over the death of 
the Lady of the Lake, and felt greatly shamed that 
they had not hindered the sudden and bloody deed. 
And the king ordered that she should have a rich 
and stately funeral. 

At this time there was in Arthur's court a knight 
named Lanceor, the son of the king of Ireland, a 
proud and valiant warrior, who was angry at Balin 
for winning the sword, and sought revenge on him. 
He asked the king to give him leave to ride after 
Balin and revenge the insult to his crown. 

" Go and do your best," said the king. " Balin 
has done me a great despite, and richly deserves 

Thereupon the knight of Ireland armed and 
rode at all speed after Balin, whom he quickly 
overtook on a mountain side. He called to him 
in loud tones, 

" Stop, sir knight. You shall halt whether you 
will or not, and the shield you bear shall prove 
but light defence to you, for I am come to punish 
you for your crime." 

Hearing this outcry, Balin turned fiercely, and 

" What do you wish, sir knight ? Are you here 
to joust with me?" 


" It is for that I have followed you," said the 
Irish knight. 

" It might have been better for you to stay at 
home," answered Balin. " Many a knight who 
thinks to chastise his enemy finds ill fortune to 
fall upon himself. From what court have you been 
sent ? " 

" From the court of King Arthur, to revenge the 
insult you put upon him in murdering his guest 
before his face." 

" Then must I fight with you," said Balin. " Yet 
I warn you your quarrel is a weak one. The lady 
that is dead richly deserved her fate, or I should 
have been as loath as any knight living to kill a 


" Make ready," said Lanceor. " Fight we must, 
and one of us shall remain dead upon this field. 
Our combat is to the utterance." 

Then they put their spears in rest, and rode 
together at the full speed of their horses, meeting 
with a shock in mid career. Lanceor struck Balin 
a blow upon the shield that shivered the spear in 
his hand. But Balin smote him with such force 
that the spear-point went through shield and hau- 
berk, and pierced his body, so that he fell dead to 
the earth. 

As the victorious knight stood looking on the 
corpse of his slain foe, there came from Camelot 
a damsel, who rode up at full speed upon a fair 
palfrey. When she saw that Lanceor was dead 
she fell into a passion of sorrow, and cried out in 
tones of deep lamentation, 

" Oh, Balin, thou hast slain two bodies and one 


heart ! Yes, two hearts in one body, and two souls 
thou hast murdered with thy fatal spear." 

Then she took the sword from her love, and as 
she took it fell to the ground in a swoon. When 
she arose again her sorrow was so great that Balin 
was grieved to the heart, and he sought to take 
the sword from her hands, but she held it so firmly 
that he could not wrest it from her without hurting 
her. Suddenly, before he could move to hinder, 
she set the pommel of the sword to the ground and 
threw her body upon the naked blade. Pierced 
through the heart, she fell dead upon the body of 
her slain love. 

" Alas ! ' said Balin, " that this should have hap- 
pened. I deeply regret the death of this knight 
for the love of this damsel; for such true love as 
this I never saw before. Yet his death was forced 
on me, and hers I could not hinder." 

Full of sorrow, he turned his horse, and as he 
looked towards a great forest near by he saw a 
knight riding towards him, whom he knew, by his 
arms, to be his brother Balan. 

When they were met they took off their helmets 
and kissed each other, and wept for joy and pity. 

" I little expected to meet you thus," said Balan. 
" A man in the Castle of Four Stones told me that 
you were freed from prison, and therefore I came 
hither in hope to find you at the court." 

Then Balin told his brother of all that had hap- 
pened at Camelot, and of the displeasure of the 
king, and that he had determined to win Arthur's 
favor at the risk of his life. 

" King Ryons lies not far away besieging the 


Castle Terrabil," he said. " Thither will we ride, 
to prove our worth and prowess upon him." 

" I shall be your comrade," said Balan. " We 
shall help each other as brethren should, and trust 
to God for fortune." 

As they stood conversing there came a dwarf 
riding in all haste from Camelot. When he saw 
the dead bodies he tore his hair for sorrow. 

" Which of you knights has done this foul deed ? ' 
he demanded. 

" Why do you ask ? ' queried Balin. 

" Because I have the right to know." 

" It was I," said Balin. " He pursued me hither, 
and forced me to fight. One of us had to die. As 
for the damsel, she died by her own hand, for which 
no man can be sorrier than I. For her sake I 
shall owe all women the better love and favor." 

" You have done yourself great damage," said 
the dwarf. " The kindred of this knight will follow 
you through the world till they have revenged on 
you his death." 

" That I do not greatly dread," said Balin. 
" But I am sorry to have displeased King Arthur 
for the death of this knight; and sorrier still for 
the fate of this lovelorn damsel." 

As they thus talked there chanced to pass a king 
of Cornwall, named King Mark, who halted on 
seeing the dead bodies, and demanded what had 
been done. When the tale was told him he was 
grieved that true love should have met so sad a 
fate, and said, " I shall not leave here till I have 
built them a tomb, for they have earned a rich 


Then he pitched his tents, and buried them nobly, 
placing above them a rich and fair tomb which he 
found in a church near by, and upon this tomb he 
wrote their epitaph, as follows : 

" Here lieth Lanceor, the son of Ireland's king, 
who was slain in fair combat by the hands of Balin ; 
and his lady Colombe, who for deep love and sorrow 
slew herself with her true love's sword. May lovers 
henceforth make this their place of pilgrimage." 



WHILE the tomb was being erected over the dead 
knight and his love, Merlin appeared at the scene. 

" You have done yourself great harm," he said 
to Balin. " Why saved you not this lady ? ' 

" By the faith of my body, I could not," said 
Balin, " she slew herself so suddenly." 

" This must I tell you," said Merlin. " Because 
of the death of this lady you shall strike a stroke 
the most dolorous that ever man struck, except 
the stroke of our Lord ; for you shall hurt the 


truest knight and the man of most worship that 
now lives, and through that stroke three kingdoms 
shall be in great poverty, misery, and wretchedness 
for twelve years, and the knight you will hurt shall 
not be whole of his wound for many years." 

" If I knew that it were true as you say/' an- 



swered Balin, " I would do such a rash deed as to 
slay myself to make you a liar. But the future 
must reveal itself. I trust no man's predictions." 

Thereupon Merlin suddenly vanished away, leav- 
ing them in deep marvel at his coming and going. 
Soon after Balin and his brother took leave of King 

" First/' said the king, " tell me your name." 

" You see he bears two swords/' said Balan. 
" You may call him the knight with the two 

And so King Mark rode towards Camelot, and 
the brothers towards Terrabil. As they rode, Mer- 
lin again met them, but now in disguise. 

" Whither do you ride ? ' he asked. 

" Why should we tell you that ? ' said the 

" You need not, for I know already. And I 
can tell you this. You will gain no advantage 
over King Ryons without my counsel." 

" Ah ! you are Merlin/' said Balin. " Then we 
shall be glad of your counsel." 

" Come then with me. But look that you brace 
yourself to knightly deeds, for you will have great 
need to do so." 

" As for that," said Balin, " we will do what we 
can. No knight can do more." 

Then Merlin lodged them in a leafy wood beside 
the highway, where they rested till it was near 
midnight. He then awakened them and bade them 
rise and make ready, for the king they sought was 
near at hand. He had stolen away from his host 
with threescore of his best knights to visit a lady. 


" How shall we know the king ? } asked Balin. 
' Hereby is a narrow way where you shall meet 
him," said Merlin. 

They followed him to the place, where they lay 
in ambush till the rattle of harness showed that 
the party approached. Then, at Merlin's sugges- 
tion, the two knights rode from their covert and 
assailed the king at the head of his followers, wound- 
ing him sorely and hurling him to the ground. 
They then, in the darkness, attacked the array of 
knights with the fury of lions, slaying more than 
forty of them, and putting the remnant to flight. 

This done, they returned to King Ryons where 
he lay helpless, and with a threat of death forced 
him to yield himself to their grace. 

" Valiant knights, slay me not," he asked. " You 
may profit by my life, but can win nothing by 
my death." 

" There you speak truly," said they, and lifting 
him carefully they placed him on a horse-litter 
for conveyance to Camelot. 

Then Merlin vanished and came to King Arthur, 
whom he told that his greatest enemy was van- 
quished and taken. 

" By whom ? ' asked the king. 

"By two of the most valorous knights in your 
realm. To-morrow you shall learn who they are." 

In good time Balin and his brother came with 
the wounded king and delivered him to the porters 
at the gates, charging them to bear him to King 
Arthur. Then they turned again and departed 
in the dawning of the day. 

When King Ryons was brought to the court, 
Arthur received him graciously. 

68 'I'll Is DUHDS OF BAMN. 

'Sir king/ 1 lie s;iid, "you arc heartily welcome. 
By wliat advent urc came you hither? 1 

" I\y a liard one," said the captive, "as you well 
may sec." 

" Who won you? ' asked Arthur. 

" The knight with tlie two swords and his 
brother/ 1 said Ryons. " And knights of marvellous 
prowess they are/' 

" I know them not," said Arthur, " hut none the 
less am 1 deeply beholden to them." 

" I shall tell you," said Merlin. "One of these 
knights was Halin, he that won the sword; the 
other was Halan, his brother, and as good a knight. 
And it is the most sorrowl'ul thing that tongue 
can say that neither of these brave knights shall 
live long to win the fame of which they are so 

" Alas ! ' said Arthur, " if that be so, it is indeed 
a great pity. 1 am much beholden to Balin, for he 
has highly redeemed the despite he did me. I have 
not deserved such good service at his hands/' 

" lie shall do more i'or you, and that soon/' said 
Merlin. " I must now depart, for I have duties 
elsewhere ; but before 1 go let me warn you to 
prepare your forces for battle at once. To-morrow 
before noon you will be set upon by a great host, 
led by Nero, King Ryons's brother. Therefore make 
all haste for your defence." 

Merlin's departure was for a purpose which he 
lold not to ihe king, lie well knew that King 
Lot of Orkney, Arthur's bitterest foe, was march- 
ing to join Nero with a powerful host, and foresaw 
that if they fell together on King Arthur he and 


all his army would be destroyed. The shrewd magi- 
cian thereupon repaired to King Lot, and held 
him with idle tales of prophecy till Nero and his 
people were destroyed. 

For between Nero and Arthur a vigorous battle 
was fought, in which many knights won honor and 
renown, while King Arthur with his own hand slew 
twenty knights and maimed forty. But Balin and 
his brother Balan, who came in during the fight, 
did such mighty deeds of prowess that all who behold 
them said they fought like angels from heaven or 
devils from hell, while Arthur beheld their prowess 
with wonder and delight, and vowed that he owed 
to them his victory. 

The combat, which took place at the Castle Ter- 
rabil, ended in the complete defeat of Nero, and 
the destruction of nearly all his host. Word of 
this disaster was brought to King Lot, where he 
lay resting with his army. 

" Alas ! ' he said, " why did I let myself be be- 
guiled? Had I been there no host under heaven 
could have matched us. That false prattler, with 
his prophecy, has mocked and befooled me. But 
what shall now be done? Shall we treat with 
Arthur, or is it wise to fight him with half an 
army ? ' 

" His men are weary with fighting and we are 
fresh," said a knight. " Now is the time to set 
upon him." 

" So be it, then. And I hope that every knight 
will bear himself in the fray as well as I, for it is 
no laggard's task we have now before us." 

Then with waving banners and serried spears 


they assailed Arthur's weary host. But the Eound 
Table Knights, with the aid of the two valiant 
brothers Balin and Balan, roused themselves vigor- 
ously to the fray, and bore all before them, so that 
only where King Lot himself fought did his host 
hold its ground. But where he battled in the van 
all his men seemed borne up by his valor, and not 
a knight met him but was overthrown or forced 
back by his prowess. 

Then King Pellinore pushed through the press 
of knights and horses, and struck a mighty stroke 
at King Lot as he fought at the head of his host. 
The sword failed in its aim, but struck the neck 
of the king's horse, so that the wounded animal 
fell to the ground with its rider. Then Pellinore 
struck so furious a stroke that his sword cut King 
Lot's helmet in twain, and cleft his head to the 
brows, hurling him lifeless to the earth. 

Seeing their king thus slain, all the host of Ork- 
ney turned and fled, and great was the slaughter 
in the pursuit. That day there fell in all twelve 
kings, who fought with Lot and Nero, and all these 
were buried in the church of Saint Stevens at 

Of the tombs that were made for these kings that 
of King Lot was most richly adorned, and King 
Arthur had a tomb prepared for himself beside it. 
For this he had made twelve images of brass and 
copper, which were gilt with gold. These repre- 
sented the twelve kings, and each of them held a 
taper of wax, that burned night and day. An image 
of King Arthur was also made, in the form of 
a statue that stood above the twelve kings with a 






drawn sword in its hand, while the faces of the 
twelve images were those of men that had been 
overcome. All these figures were made by Merlin 
through his subtle craft. 

" When I am dead," he said to the king, " these 
tapers shall burn no longer. Then the end will 
be near, and the adventures of the Sangreal shall 
be achieved/' 

Much more he told the king of the strange events 
that would come to pass in the future time; and 
further he said, 

"Look well to the scabbard of Excalibur. You 
shall lose no blood while you wear this scabbard, 
even though you be covered with wounds." 

Thus admonished, Arthur, in loving trust, took 
the scabbard to Morgan le Fay, his sister, and gave 
it into her care to keep for him. Much did he peril 
in doing so, for Morgan was false at heart, and 
proved recreant to her trust, from love for a knight 
named Accolan, whom she cherished in her soul 
beyond her husband, while she had grown to hate 
her brother. She made, by enchantment, another 
scabbard like the one given her in trust, and gave 
the scabbard of Excalibur to her love. By this 
deed of treachery she hoped in her false soul to bring 
King Arthur to his death. And well-nigh she 
succeeded therein, as shall be told hereafter. 




A DAY or two after King Arthur had placed the 
magical scabbard in the hands of his evil-thinking 
sister, he grew unwell, and had his tent pitched in 
a meadow near Camelot for the benefit of the fresh 
air and the green verdure. Here he sought in vain 
to sleep, lying long in uneasy wakefulness. As 
he thus lay he heard a horse approaching, and look- 
ing through the door of his tent, beheld a knight, 
who lamented deeply as he came. 

" Halt ! fair sir," cried Arthur. " Tell me the 
cause of your sorrow." 

" You can little aid me," said the knight, and 
he rode onward without further answer. 

Soon afterward Balin rode up, and on seeing King 
Arthur sprang from his horse and saluted him. 

" By my head, you are welcome," said the king. 
" A knight has just ridden past here moaning sadly, 
but has declined to tell me the cause of his sorrow. 
I desire of your courtesy to bring that knight to 
me, either by force or good-will, for I wish greatly 
to know why he so deeply grieves." 

"That is little to what I should be glad to do 
for you," said Balin. He rode on apace, and ere 
long found the knight In a neighboring forest in 
company with a damsel. 

" Sir knight," he said, " you must come with me 
to King Arthur. He demands to see you and learn 
the cause of your sorrow." 


" That I shall not do," said the knight. " It will 
injure me greatly, and do no good to you or him." 

" Then you must make ready to fight," said Balin. 
" I have my order to bring you willingly or by 
force, and I should be loath to have a fight with 

" Will you be my warrant if I go with you ? ' 
asked the knight. " For truly you lead me into 

" Yes. And I shall die rather than let you come 
to harm, if it is in my power to avert it." 

This said, the knight turned and rode back with 
Balin, accompanied by the damsel. But as they 
reached King Arthur's pavilion a strange thing 
happened. A spear was thrust through the body 
of the knight, inflicting a mortal wound. Yet 
the hand and form of him who did this fatal deed 
remained unseen. 

" Alas ! " said the knight, " it is as I feared. 
Under your conduct and guard I have been slain 
by a traitorous knight called Garlon, who through 
enchantment rides invisible, and does such deeds 
as this. My day is done. As you are a true knight, 
I charge you to take my horse, which is better than 
yours, and ride with this damsel on the quest which 
for me is at an end. Follow as she will lead, and 
revenge my death when best you may." 

" That shall I do," said Balin. " Upon the honor 
of knighthood I vow to follow your quest, and to 
revenge you on this false foe, or die as you have 

Then, leaving the king, Balin rode with the 
damsel, who bore with her the truncheon of the 


spear with which the knight had been killed. After 
they had gone, King Arthur had the knight buried 
richly and honorably, and had written upon the 
tomb his name, Herleus de Berbeus, and how he 
came to his death through the treachery of the 
invisible knight Garlon. 

Meanwhile Balin and the damsel rode onward 
until they found themselves in a forest. Here 
they met a knight engaged in hunting, who asked 
Balin why he showed such grief. 

" That I do not care to tell," said Balin. 

" You should if I were armed as you are, for 
your answer is too curt to be courteous/' 

" My story is not worth fighting for," answered 
Balin. " I will tell you if you so greatly desire to 
know." He thereupon told him the fatal event 
which had just occurred, and that he mourned 
the untimely death of the knight who had been 
so treacherously slain. 

"This is a sad story," said the knight. "As I 
am a true cavalier I will go with you on your quest, 
and leave you not while life lasts." 

Then he went with Balin to his inn, armed him- 
self, and rode forth with him. But as they passed 
by a hermitage near a churchyard the invisible 
knight Garlon came again, and smote Balin's com- 
panion through the body, as he had done to Herleus 

" Alas ! ' cried the knight. " I too am slain by 
this invisible traitor, who does murder at will under 
cover of enchantment." 

" It is not the first despite the wretch has done 
me," cried Balin. " Could I see him I would soon 


repay this outrage. I am bound by the honor of 
a knight to a double revenge on this unworthy 

He and the hermit thereupon buried the slain 
knight, Perin de Mountbeliard, under a rich stone 
in a noble tomb, inscribing thereon the cause of 
his death. 

In the morning the knight and damsel proceeded 
on their quest, and in good time found themselves 
before a castle, which rose high and broad by the 
roadside. Here Balin alighted, and he and the 
damsel turned towards the castle, with purpose to 
enter. But as Balin entered in advance the port- 
cullis was suddenly let fall behind him, cutting him 
off from his companion. Immediately a number 
of men assailed the damsel with drawn swords. 

When Balin saw this treacherous proceeding his 
soul burned within him. What to do at first he 
knew not. Then he ran hastily into the gate tower, 
and leaped, all armed, over the wall into the ditch. 
Finding himself unhurt, he drew his sword and 
rushed furiously upon the armed men who sur- 
rounded his companion. 

" Traitors and dogs ! ' he cried. " If you are 
eager for fight, I will give you your fill." 

" We cannot fight you," they answered. " We 
do nothing but keep the old custom of the castle." 

"What is that?" asked Balin. "It is an ill 
custom, methinks, that thus displays itself." 

" Our lady is sick, and has lain so for many 
years. Nothing will cure her but a dish full of 
blood from a maid and a king's daughter. It is, 
therefore, the custom that no damsel shall pass 


this way without leaving a silver dish full of blood/' 

"That is for the damsel to say," replied Balin. 
" If she chooses to bleed for the good of your lady 
she may, but her life shall not be taken while 
mine lasts." 

The damsel thereupon yielded a dish full of her 
blood, but it helped not the lady. She and Balin 
rested in the castle for the night, where they had 
good cheer. In the morning they proceeded again 
on their quest. 

Three or four days now passed without adven- 
ture. At the end of that time the knight and 
damsel found lodging in the house of a rich gentle- 
man, the owner of a fair estate. As they sat at 
supper Balin was moved by the grievous complaints 
of one who sat beside him, and asked his host the 
cause of this lamentation. 

" It is this," said the host. " I was lately at a 
tournament, where I twice overthrew a knight who 
is brother to King Pellam. He threatened to 
revenge his defeat on my best friend, and has done 
so by wounding my son. The hurt is a grievous 
one, and cannot be cured till I have some of that 
knight's blood; but how to find him I know not, 
for his name is unknown to me, and he always rides 

" Aha ! ' cried Balin, " has that treacherous dog 
been at his murderous work again? I know his 
name well. It is Garlon, and he has lately slain 
two knightly companions of mine in the same base 
manner. I should rather meet with that invisible 
wretch than have all the gold in this kingdom. 
Let me see him once and he or I dies." 


" I shall tell you what to do, then," said the 
host. " King Pellam of Listeneise has announced a 
great feast, to be given within twenty days, to 
which no knight can come unless he brings with 
him his wife or his love. That false knight, your 
enemy and mine, will be there, and visible to 
human eyes." 

" Then, as I am a true knight," cried Balin, 
"you shall have of his blood enough to twice heal 
your son's wound, if I die in the getting it." 

" We shall set forward to-morrow," said the host, 
" and I hope it may be as you say." 

In the morning they rode towards Listeneise, 
which it took them fifteen days to reach, and where 
the great feast began on the day of their arrival. 
Leaving their horses in the stables, they sought 
to enter the castle, but Balm's companion was re- 
fused admittance, as he had no lady with him. 
Balin, however, having the damsel with him, was 
at once received, and taken to a chamber where he 
laid aside his armor and put on rich robes which 
the attendants brought him. They wished him to 
leave his sword, but to this he objected. 

" It is the custom of my country," he said, " for 
a knight always to keep his weapon with him. This 
custom shall I keep, or depart as I came." 

Hearing this, they objected no longer to his wear- 
ing his sword, and he thereupon entered the feasting 
chambers with his lady companion. Here he found 
himself among many worshipful knights and fair 

Balin, after looking carefully round him, asked 
a guest, 


" Is there not a knight in this good company 
named Garlon ? ' 

" Yes. Yonder knight is he, the one with the 
dark face. And let me tell you that there is no 
more marvellous knight living. He has the power 
of going invisible, and has destroyed many good 
knights unseen." 

" I have heard of this," said Balin. " A marvel- 
lous gift, indeed. This, then, is Garlon? Thanks 
for vour information/' 


Then Balin considered anxiously what had best 
be done. " If I slay him here my own life will 
pay the forfeit," he said to himself. " But if I 
let him escape me now it may be long before I 
have such an opportunity, and in the meanwhile 
he may do much harm." 

As he stood thus reflecting, with his eyes fixed 
on Garlon's face, the latter observed his close and 
stern regard. In haughty anger he came to him 
and smote him on the face with the back of his 

" Sir knight," he said, " take that for your im- 
pertinent stare. Now eat your meat, and do what 
you came here for. Hereafter learn to use your 
eyes to better purpose." 

" You dog ! ' cried Balin, " this is not your first 
insult to me. You bid me do what I came for. 
It is this." As he spoke he rose furiously from 
his seat, drew his sword, and with one fierce blow 
clove Garlon's head to the shoulders. 

"That is my errand here," cried Balin to the 
guests. " Now give me the truncheon," he said 
to the damsel, " with which he slew your knight." 


She gave it to him, and Balin thrust it through 
Garlon's body, exclaiming, 

" With that truncheon you killed a good knight, 
and with this blow I revenge him." 

Then he called his late host, who had by this 
gained entrance to the feast, and said, 

" Here lies your foe. Take with you enough of 
his blood to heal your son." 

All this had happened so quickly that none had 
time to interfere, but the knights now sprang 
hastily from their seats, and rushed from the hall 
for their weapons, that they might revenge their 
slain companion. Among them rose King Pellam, 
crying furiously, 

" Why have you killed my brother ! Villain and 
murderer, you shall die for this ! ' 

" Here I stand/ said Balin. " If vou wish 


revenge, seek it yourself. I stand in my defence." 
" It is well said," cried the king. " Stand back, 
all. For the love I bore my brother I will take 
his revenge on myself. Let no one interfere. This 
murderer is mine." 

Then King Pellam snatched up a mighty weapon 
and struck fiercely at Balin, who threw up his own 
sword in guard. He was in time to save his head, 
but the treacherous blade went into pieces beneath 
the stroke, leaving him unarmed before the furious 

Balin, finding himself thus in danger of death, 
ran into a neighboring chamber in search of a 
weapon, closely pursued by his enraged adversary. 
Finding none there, he ran on from chamber to 
chamber, seeking a weapon in vain, with King 


Pellam raging like a maddened lion behind him. 

At length Balin entered a rich and marvellously 
adorned chamber, within which was a bed covered 
with cloth of gold of the noblest texture, and in 
this bed a person lay. Xear by was a table with 
a top of solid gold and four curiously-shaped pillars 
of silver for its legs, while upon it stood a mighty 
spear, whose handle was strangely wrought, as 
though it had been made for a mighty king. 

But of all this marvel and magnificence Balin 
saw only the spear, which he seized at once with 
a strong grip, and turned with it to face his adver- 
sary. King Pellam was close at hand, with sword 
uplifted for a fatal stroke, but as he rushed in 
blind rage forward Balin pierced his body with the 
spear, hurling him insensible to the floor. 

Little dreamed the fated warrior of all that thrust 
portended. The spear he used was a magical 
weapon, and prophecy had long declared that the 
deadliest evil should come from its use. King 
Pellam had no sooner fallen beneath that fatal 
thrust than all the castle rocked and tottered as if 
a mighty earthquake had passed beneath its walls, 
and the air was filled with direful sounds. Then 
down crushed the massive roof, and with a sound 
like that of the trumpet-blast of disaster the strong 
walls rent asunder, and rushed downward in a 
torrent of ruin. One moment that stately pile 
lifted its proud battlements in majesty toward the 
skies; the next it lay prostrate as though it had 
been stricken by the hand of God to the earth. 

Men say who saw it that when fell that fatal 
blow thereafter to be known in history and legend 


as the " dolorous stroke " the castle shivered like 
a forest struck by a strong wind, and then fell with 
a mighty crash, burying hundreds beneath its walls. 
Among these were Balin and King Pellam, who 
lay there for three days without aid or relief, in 
deep agony and peril of death. 



AT the end of the three days came Merlin, who 
rescued Balin from under the ruined walls. 

" Your horse is dead," he said, " but I have 
brought you another, and the sword you won in 
Arthur's hall. My counsel is that you ride out of 
this country with all speed; for little you know 
the evil you have done." 

" The damsel I brought hither must go with 
me," said Balin. 

" She shall never go farther," answered Merlin. 
" The damsel is dead, and with her many a good 
knight and fair lady. That blow of yours was the 
fatalest ever struck, as you may see in the ruin 
of this castle, and as you will see further when 
you ride abroad through this distracted country." 

" What have I done ? " cried Balin. How could 
I know that such dread disaster dwelt within that 
spear? Who was he that lay within the bed, and 
what does this strange thing portend ? ' 



" You did but what destiny commanded," said 
Merlin. " It is fate, not you, that is at fault. Let 
me tell you the meaning of this mighty and terrible 
event, which destiny has thrown into your hands. 
He who lay in that rich bed was Joseph of Ari- 
mathea, who came years ago into this land, and 
bore with him part of the blood of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. And that spear was the same fatal weapon 
with "which Longius smote our Lord to the heart. 
Xing Pellam was nigh akin to Joseph of Arimathea, 
and great pity is it of his hurt, for that stroke has 
filled the land with trouble, grief, and mourning. 
As for King Pellam, he shall lie for many years 
in sore pain from the wound you dealt him, and 
shall never be whole again until Galahad, the high 
prince, shall heal him when he comes this way in 
the quest of the Sangreal." 

These words said, Balin mounted his horse, and 
departed in deep grief for the harm he had wrought, 
saying to Merlin as he left, " In this world we 
shall never meet again, for I feel that destiny 
has marked me for its victim." But little knew he 
the full effects of that fatal blow till he rode forth 
through the land. Then as he went through the 
once fair cities and fertile country he saw the people 
lying dead on every side, and cities and lands in 
ruin together. Few remained alive of all the in- 
habitants of that populous realm, and as he passed 
these cried out to him, 

" Oh, Balin, terrible is the harm that thou hast 
done to this innocent land! Three countries lie 
destroyed through the dolorous stroke thou gavest 
unto King Pellam. Woe to thee for this dread 


deed ! Thou hast escaped alive, yet doubt not but 
the vengeance of heaven will fall on thee at last ! r 

Great was the grief and suffering with which 
the good knight heard these words, and glad at heart 
was he when at length he left behind him that land 
of woe and ruin, to which his innocent hand had 
wrought such deadly harm. 

But as he rode onward the feeling came to him 
that his end was at hand, though this grieved him 
little, for he felt as one set apart to do heaven's 
work of destiny. And for eight days thereafter he 
rode over many leagues of strange country without 

At length came a day when he saw before him x 
by the roadside, a cross, on which in letters of gold 
was written, " It is not wise for any knight alone 
to ride towards this castle." Then he saw a white- 
haired old man approach, who said, 

" Balin le Savage, you pass your bounds to come 
this way. Turn again, if you would leave this place 
in safety." 

With these words he vanished, and as he did so 
there rang on the air a bugle-blast like that blown 
for the death of a beast of the chase. 

" That blast is blown for me," said Balin. " I 
am the prize of the invisible powers. I am not 
yet dead, but they claim me for their own." 

As he stood lost in deep thought there came 
trooping from the castle, which he now saw in the 
distance, a hundred fair ladies and many knights, 
who welcomed him with great show of gladness, 
and led him with them to the castle, where he found 
dancing and minstrelsy, and all manner of sport 


and pleasure. As he stood observing all this the 
chief lady of the castle said to him, 

" Knight of the two swords, there is a custom 
of this castle which all who come here must keep. 
Hereby is an island which is held by a knight, and 
no man can pass this way unless he joust with him." 

" That is an unhappy custom," said Balin. 
" Why should every traveller be forced to fight ? ' 

" You shall have to do with but one knight," 
said the lady. 

" That troubles me little," said Balin. " I and 
my horse are both weary from our journey, but I 
am not weary at heart, and, if fight I must, I am 
ready to do it now. If death comes to me, it will 
not come unwelcome." 

" Your shield does not seem to be a good one," 
said a knight. " Let me lend you a larger one." 

Balin took the proffered shield and left his own, 
and rode to the island, where he and his horse were 
taken over in a great boat. On reaching the island 
shore he met a damsel, who said in sorrowful 

" Knight Balin, why have you left } r our own 
shield ? Alas ! you have put yourself in great 
danger. Had you borne your own you would have 
been known. It is a great pity that a knight of 
your prowess and hardiness should fight unknown." 

" I repent that I ever came into this country," 
said Balin. " But now that I am here I shall not 
turn again, and whatever comes to me, be it life or 
death, I shall take it as my lot." 

Then he mounted and rode into the island, in 
whose midst he saw a castle, from which rode a 


knight wearing red armor,, and mounted on a horse 
which bore trappings of the same color. The war- 
riors looked at each other, but neither knew the 
other, though the two swords that Balin wore should 
have revealed him, had not he borne a shield of 
strange device. 

Then, couching their spears, the hostile knights 
rode together at the full speed of their war-horses, 
meeting with such mighty force and equal fortune 
that both horses went down, and both knights were 
hurled to the earth, where they lay in a swoon. 

Balin was sorely bruised and weary with travel, 
and the red knight was the first to gain his feet. 
But as he advanced with drawn sword, Balin sprang 
up and met him with ready shield, returning his 
blow with such force that he cut through his shield 
and cleft his helmet. 

And now began the mightiest battle that island 
had ever beheld. As they fought, Balin looked at 
the castle and saw that its towers were full of ladies 
who were watching the deadly contest, and who 
applauded each blow as though this combat was 
meant for their sport. The valiant knights fought 
till their breath failed, and then took rest and 
fought again, until each was sorely wounded and 
the spot upon which they stood was deeply stained 
with blood. 

They fought on until each of them had seven 
great wounds, the least of which might have brought 
death to the mightiest giant of the world. But 
still the terrible sword-play continued, until their 
coats of mail were so hewn that they stood unarmed, 
and the blood poured piteously from their veins. 


At length the red knight withdrew a little and lay 
down. Then said Balm, 

" Tell me what knight you are. For never did 
I meet a man of your prowess before." 

" I am Balan," was the answer, " brother to the 
good knight Balm." 

" Alas ! ' cried Balin, " that ever I should see 
this day ! ' and he fell to the earth in a swoon. 

Then Balan dragged himself up on his hands 
and feet, and took off his brother's helmet, but the 
face was so scarred and blood-stained that he did 
not know it. But when Balin came to himself he 

" Oh, Balan, my brother, thou hast slain me, and 
I thee! Fate has done deadly work this day." 

" Heaven aid me ! ' cried Balan. " I should 
have known you by your two swords, but your shield 
deceived me." 

" A knight in the castle caused me to leave my 
own shield," said Balin. " If I had life enough 
left me I would destroy that castle for its evil 

" And I should aid you," said Balan. " They 
have held me here because I happened to slay a 
knight that kept this island. And if you had slain 
me and lived, you would have been held in the same 
way as their champion." 

As they thus conversed there came to them the 
lady of the castle, with four knights and six ladies 
and as many yeomen. The lady wept as she heard 
them moan that they as brothers had slain each 
other, and she promised them that they should be 
richly entombed on the spot in which the battle had 
been fought. 


" Now will you send for a priest/' asked Balan, 
" that we may receive the sacrament ? ' 

" It shall be done/' said the lady. 

And so she sent for a priest and gave them the 
rites of the church. 

" When we are buried in one tomb/' said Balin, 
" and the inscription is placed over us telling how 
two brothers here slew each other in ignorance 
and valor, there will never good knight nor good 
man see our tomb but they will pray for our souls, 
and bemoan our fate." 

At this all the ladies wept for pity. Soon after 
Balan died, but Balin lived till midnight. The 
lady thereupon had them both richly buried, and 
the tomb inscribed as they had asked, though she 
knew not Balin's name. 

But in the morning came the magician Merlin, 
who wrote Balin's name upon the tomb in letters 
of gold, as follows : " Here lieth Balin le Savage, 
the knight with the two swords, and he that smote 
the Dolorous Stroke." 

More than this did Merlin, through this magic 
art. In that castle he placed a bed, and ordained 
that whoever should lie therein would lose his wits. 
And he took the sword which Balin had won from 
the damsel, and removed its pommel, placing upon 
it another pommel. Then he asked a knight beside 
him to lift that sword, but he tried to do so in vain. 

" No man shall have power to handle that sword/' 
said Merlin, "but the best knight in the world; 
and that shall be Sir Launcelot, or his son Sir 
Galahad. And Launcelot with this sword shall slay 
Sir Gawaine, the man he loves best in the world." 


All this he wrote in the pommel of the sword. 

Then Merlin built to the island a bridge of steel 
and iron that was but half a foot broad, and 
ordained that no man should cross that bridge unless 
he were of virtuous life and free from treachery 
or evil thoughts and deeds. 

This done, Merlin by magical skill fixed Balm's 
sword in a block of marble as great as a millstone, 
and set it afloat upon the stream in such a way 
that the sword always stood upright above the 
water. And for years this stone swam down the 
stream, for no man could take it from the water 
or draw the sword, until in time it came to the 
city of Camelot (which is in English Winchester), 
where the sword was drawn, and many strange 
things followed thereupon, as shall be hereafter 

Soon after this was done, Merlin came to King 
Arthur and told him the story of the dolorous 
stroke which Balin had given to King Pellam, and 
of the marvellous battle Balin and Balan had 
fought, and how they were buried in one tomb. 

" Alas ! ' cried Arthur, " I never heard a sadder 
tale. And much is the loss to knighthood and chiv- 
alry, for in the world I know not two such knights." 

Thus endeth the tale of Balin and Balan, two 
brethren born in Northumberland, good knights. 



I ^""""* 




AND now we have again a tale of disaster to tell, 
namely, how Merlin the wise fell into love's dotage, 
and through folly brought himself to a living death, 
so that thenceforth he appeared no more upon the 
earth, and his wise counsels were lost to Arthur 
and his knights. 

For the old magician, who had so long kept free 
from love's folly, became besotted with the damsel 
named Mmue, she whom King Pellinore had 
brought to the court on his quest at Arthur's 

Merlin quite lost his wits and wisdom through 
his mad passion for this young lady, to whom he 
would give no rest, but followed her wherever she 
went. The shrewd damsel, indeed, encouraged her 
doting lover, for he was ready to teach her all the 
secrets of his art, so that in time she learned from 
him so much of his craft that she became skilled in 
necromancy beyond all enchantresses of her time. 

The wise magician knew well that his end was 
at hand, and that the woman whom he loved would 
prove his ruin, but his doting passion was such 
that he had no strength of mind to resist. He came 
thereupon unto King Arthur, and told him what 
he foresaw, and which it was not in his power to 
prevent; and warned him of many coming events, 
that he might be prepared for them when Merlin 
was with him no more. 


" I have charged you/' he said, " to keep in your 
own hands the sword Excalibur and its scabbard, 
yet well I know that both sword and scabbard 
will be stolen from you by a woman whom you 
foolishly trust, and that your lack of wisdom will 
bring you near to your death. This also I may 
say, you will miss me deeply. When I am gone 
you would give all your lands to have me again. 
For Merlin will find no equal in the land." 

" That I well know already/' said the king. 
" But, since you foresee so fully what is coming 
upon you, why not provide for it, and by your craft 
overcome it?* 

" No," said Merlin, " that may not be. Strong 
I am, but destiny is stronger. There is no magic 
that can set aside the decrees of fate/' 

Soon afterwards the damsel departed from the 
court, but her doting old lover followed her wher- 
ever she went. And as he sought to practise upon 
her some of his subtle arts, she made him swear, if 
he would have her respond to his love, never to per- 
form enchantment upon her again. 

This Merlin swore. Then he and Nimue crossed 
the sea to the land of Benwick, the realm of King 
Ban, who had helped King Arthur so nobly in his 
wars, and here he saw young Lancelot, the son 
of King Ban and his wife Elaine, who was in the 
time to come to win world-wide fame. 

The queen lamented bitterly to Merlin the mortal 
war which King Claudas made upon her lord and 
his lands, and the ruin that she feared. 

" Be not disturbed thereby," said Merlin. " Your 
son Lancelot shall revenge you upon King Claudas, 


eo that all Christendom shall ring with the story 
of his exploits. And this same youth shall become 
the most famous knight in the world/' 

" Merlin ! ' said the queen,, " shall I live to 
see my son a man of such prowess ? ' 

" Yes, my lady and queen, this you shall see, and 
live many years to enjoy his fame/' 

Soon afterwards Merlin and his lady-love re- 
turned to England and came to Cornwall,, the magi- 
cian showing her many wonders of his art as they 
journeyed. But he pressed her so for her love that 
she grew sorely weary of his importunate suit, 
and would have given aught less than her life to 
be rid of him, for she feared him as one possessed 
of the arts of the foul fiend. But say or do what 
she would, her doting lover clung to her all the 
more devotedly, and wearied her the more with 
his endless tale of love. 

Then it came to pass that as they wandered 
through Cornwall, and Merlin showed her all the 
wonders of that land, they found themselves by a 
rocky steep, under which he told her was a won- 
derful cavern that had been wrought by enchant- 
ment in the solid rock, its mouth being closed by a 
mighty mass of stone. 

Here, with all her art of love, and a subtle show 
of affection, the faithless damsel so bewitched Mer- 
lin that for joy he knew not what he did; and at 
her earnest wish he removed by his craft the stone 
that sealed the cavern's mouth, and went under it 
that he might show her all the marvels that lay 
there concealed. 

But hardly had he entered when, using the magic 


arts which she had learned from him, the faithless 
woman caused the great stone to sink back with 
a mighty sound into its place, shutting up the 
enchanter so firmly in that underground cavern that 
with all his craft he could never escape. For he 
had taught her his strongest arts of magic, and do 
what he would he could never move that stone. 

This faithless act performed, the damsel departed 
and left Merlin a prisoner in the rock. She alone 
of all the world could set him free, and that she 
would not do, but kept her secret, and thanked 
heaven for her deliverance. 

And so Merlin, through his doting folly, passed 
out of the world of men into a living tomb. 

Long days and months passed before his fate was 
known, and then chance brought to his cavern 
prison a valiant knight named Bagdemagus, who 
had left Arthur's court in anger because Sir Tor 
was given a vacant seat at the Round Table which 
he claimed as his due. 

As he wandered through that part of Cornwall in 
quest of adventures, he came one day past a great 
rock from which dire lamentations seemed to issue. 
Hearing those woeful sounds, Bagdemagus sought 
to remove the stone that closed the cavern's mouth, 
but so firmly was it fixed by enchantment that a 
hundred men could not have stirred it from its 

" Strive no longer," came a voice from within. 
" You labor in vain." 

Who is it that speaks ? ' asked the knight. 
I am Merlin, the enchanter; brought here by 
my doting folly. I loved not wisely but too well; 



and here you find me, locked in this cliff by my 
strongest spells, which in love's witlessness I taught 
to a woman traitor. Go now, worthy sir, and leave 
me to my fate." 

" Alas ! that this should be ! Tell me who did 
this thing, and by what dismal chance, that I may 
tell the king." 

Then Merlin related the story of his folly and 
fate, in the end bidding the knight to leave him, 
for only death could free him from that prison. 

Hearing this, Bagdemagus departed, full of sor- 
row and wonder, and after many days returned to 
Arthur's court, where he told the story of the magi- 
cian's fate. Great was the marvel of all and the 
grief of the king on learning this, and much he 
besought Nimue to set Merlin free. But neither 
threats nor entreaties could move her obdurate 
heart, and at length she left the court in anger 
and defiance, vowing that she would never set free 
her old tormentor. 





ON a day not long after the event of Balin's 
death, it befell that Arthur and many of his knights 
went out hunting in a great forest, where, as for- 
tune willed, King Arthur, Sir Accolan of Gaul, 
and King Uriens, who had wedded Morgan le Fay, 
followed far on the track of a great hart, which led 
them astray till they were ten miles distant from 
their late companions. 

They were all well mounted, but so hot was the 
chase, and so far did it lead them, that the horses 
at length fell dead beneath the ardent huntsmen, 
leaving them on foot in the remote depths of the 
forest. But the hart was in no better condition, 
for the hot chase had worn it out, and it dragged 
wearily on before them, barely able to keep its feet. 

"What shall we do?" said Arthur. "We are 
far from human habitation, and the night comes 
fast upon us/' 

" Let us go forward on foot," said Uriens. " We 
shall surely soon meet with some place of shelter." 

Taking this advice, they advanced in the track 
of the hart, and soon came up with it where it lay 












on the bank of a large stream, while a hound had 
it by the throat, and others were coming up in full 

Then Arthur blew the death-note of the chase, 
and killed the hart. This done, he looked about 
him, and to his surprise saw approaching on the 
stream a small vessel, with flowing sails of silk. 
As it came near it veered towards the shore, and 
finally touched land on the sands before them. 
Arthur walked to the bank and looked over the 
sides upon the deck, but to his wonder not a living 
person was to be seen. 

" This is a marvellous thing," said the king. 
" Has the vessel been blown here by a wind of 
magic ? Let us enter and see what is in the ship/' 

They did so, and found it richly adorned with 
silken hangings and royally equipped. As they 
stood on the deck looking about them in surprise, 
night came upon them, but suddenly the darkness 
was dispelled by a hundred torches, which flared 
out around the sides of the ship, brilliantly illu- 
minating it. And immediately, from somewhere 
in the depths of the ship, appeared twelve fair 
damsels, who fell upon their knees before King 
Arthur, saluting him by name, and welcoming him 
to the best cheer that their means could provide. 

" You are welcome, whoever you be," said Arthur, 
" and have our thanks for your kindly good will." 

" Follow us then, noble sir." 

Arthur and his companions followed their fair 
guides into a cabin of the ship, where they were 
glad to see a table richly provided with the most 
delicate viands, and set with the rarest wines. The 


king marvelled greatly at this, for never in his 
life had he fared better at supper than at this royal 

The meal ended, Arthur was led into a richly- 
appointed chamber, whose regal furniture and 
appointments he had never seen surpassed. His 
companions were conducted to chambers no less 
richly appointed, and quickly the three weary 
hunters fell asleep, for they were exhausted with 
their day's labor. 

Perilous was the sleep that came upon them, for 
they little dreamed that they had been lured into 
an enchanted ship, and that strange adventures 
awaited them all, and deadly danger threatened the 

For when the next day dawned, Uriens woke to 
find himself at Camelot, in his own chamber, with 
his wife. Much he marvelled at this, for he had 
fallen asleep the evening before at two days 5 jour- 
ney distant. As for Accolan, we shall tell later 
what befell him. Arthur woke to find himself in 
utter darkness, while the air was full of doleful 
sounds. On feeling round him he soon discovered 
that he was in a dismal dungeon, and on listening 
he discovered that the sounds he heard were the 
woeful complaints of prisoners. 

" What place is this, and who are ye that bewail 
so bitterly ? ' asked Arthur. 

" We are twenty knights that have long been held 
prisoners here, some for seven years and some for 

" For what cause ? ' inquired Arthur. 

" How came you here, that you know not the 
cause ? " 


" I came by foul enchantment/ 7 said Arthur, and 
told them his adventure, at which they wondered 
greatly. " Now tell me," he asked, " how came 
you in this direful state ? ' 

" We are victims of an evil-hearted villain," they 
answered. " The lord of this castle, Sir Damas 
by name, is a coward and traitor, who keeps his 
younger brother, Sir Ontzlake, a valiant and worthy 
knight, out of his estate. Hostility has long ruled 
between them, and Ontzlake proffers to fight Damas 
for his livelihood, or to meet in arms any knight 
who may take up his quarrel. Damas is too faint- 
hearted to fight himself, and is so hated that no 
knight will fight for him. This is why we are here. 
Finding no knight of his own land to take up his 
quarrel, he has lain in wait for knights-errant, and 
taken prisoner every one that entered his country. 
All of us preferred imprisonment to fighting for 
such a scoundrel, and here we have long lain half 
dead with hunger while eighteen good knights have 
perished in this prison ; yet not a man of us would 
fight in so base a quarrel." 

" This is a woeful story, indeed," said Arthur. 
" I despise treason as much as the best of you, but 
it seems to me I should rather take the choice of 
combat than of years in this dungeon. God can 
be trusted to aid the just cause. Moreover, I 
came not here like you, and have but your words 
for your story. Fight I will, then, rather than 

As they spoke a damsel came to King Arthur, 
bearing a light. 

" How fare you ? ' she asked. 






None too well/' he replied. 

I am bidden to say this to you," she remarked. 

If you will fight for my lord, you shall be deliv- 
ered from this prison. Otherwise you shall stay 
here for life." 

" It is a hard alternative,," said Arthur ; " I 
should deem only a madman w r ould hesitate. I 
should rather fight with the best knight that ever 
wore armor than spend a week in such a vile place. 
To this, then, I agree. If your lord will deliver 
all these prisoners, I will fight his battle." 

" Those are the terms he offers/ 7 said the damsel. 

" Then tell him I am ready. But he must pro- 
vide me with horse and armor, and vow on his 
knightly honor to keep his word." 

" All this he will freely do." 

" It seems to me, damsel, that I have seen you 
before. Have you not been at the court of King 
Arthur ? " 

" Not so," said the damsel. " I have never been 
there, but am the daughter of the lord of this castle, 
who has always kept me at home." 

In this, as the chronicles tell us, she spoke falsely, 
for she was one of the damsels of Morgan le Fay, 
and well she knew the king. 

Damas w T as glad at heart to learn that a knight 
had at last consented to fight for him, and the more 
so when he saw Arthur and marked his strong limbs 
and the high spirit in his face. But he and none 
there save the damsel, knew w T ho his prisoner was. 

" It were a pity," said all who saw him, " that 
such a knight should die in prison. It is wise in 
him to fight, whatever betide." 


Then agreement was made that Arthur should 
do battle to the uttermost for the lord of the castle, 
who, on his part, agreed to set free the imprisoned 
knights. To this covenant both parties took oath, 
whereupon the twenty knights were brought from 
their dark prison to the castle hall, and given their 
freedom and the privilege of seeing the battle. 

But now we must leave the story of Arthur and 
Damas, and turn to that of Accolan of Gaul, the 
third of the three knights who had gone to sleep in 
the enchanted ship. This knight was, unknown 
to Arthur, a lover of Morgan le Fay, being he for 
whose sake she had counterfeited the magic scab- 
bard of the sword Excalibur. 

She loved him, indeed, as ardently as she had 
grown to hate her royal brother, and through this 
love had laid a treacherous plot for Arthur's death. 

When Accolan awoke, to his surprise he found 
himself no longer in the ship, but lying within 
half a foot of the side of a deep well, in seeming 
peril of his life, for he might at any moment have 
fallen into the water. Out of this well there came 
a pipe of silver, from which a crystal stream ran 
into a high marble basin. When Accolan beheld 
all this he crossed himself and said, 

" God save my lord King Arthur, and King 
Uriens, for those damsels in the ship have betrayed 
us all. They were not women, but devils, and if I 
escape this misadventure I shall destroy all enchan- 
tresses w r herever I find them/' 

As he spoke, there came to him a dwarf with a 
great mouth and a flat nose, who saluted him, and 
said that he came from Morgan le Fay. 


" She sends you her greetings, and bids you be 
of strong heart, for to-morrow it shall be your task 
to fight a knight of the greatest prowess. That 
you may win in the combat she has sent you Arthur's 
sword Excalibur, with its magical scabbard. She 
bids you do the battle to the uttermost without 
mercy, and promises to make a queen of the damsel 
whom you shall send to her with the head of the 
knight you fight with." 

" I shall do her bidding," said Accolan, " and can- 
not fail to win, now that I have this sword, for which 
I fervently thank her. When saw you my lady 
queen ? ' 

" I am just from her." 

" Recommend me to her, and tell her I shall do 
all I have promised, or die for it. These crafts 
and enchantments that have happened are they of 
her making ? ' 

" That you may well believe. She has prepared 
them to bring on this battle." 

" Who, then, is the knight with whom I shall 
fight ? It seems to me he should be a noble one, for 
such preparation." 

" That my lady has not told me." 

As they spoke there came to them a knight and 
a lady, with six squires, who asked Sir Accolan 
why he lay there, and begged him to rise and come 
with them to a neighboring manor, where he might 
rest in better ease. As fortune willed it, this manor 
was the dwelling of Sir Ontzlake, the brother of 
the traitor Damas. 

Accolan gladly accepted the invitation, but not 
long had he been in the manor when word came 


from Damas, saying that he had found a knight 
who was ready to do battle to the death for their 
claims,, and challenging Ontzlake to make ready 
without delay for the field, or to send a knight to 
take his side in the combat. 

This challenge troubled Ontzlake sorely. Not 
long before he had been sadly hurt in a joust, and 
was still weak from his wound. Accolan, to whom 
all this was made known, at once came, with the 
generous impulse of a true knight, to his host, and 
offered to do battle in his stead. In his heart, too, 
he felt that this might be the combat of which 
Morgan had warned him, and with the aid of 
Arthur's sword and scabbard he could not fail to 

Ontzlake thanked him deeply for his generous 
offer, and without delay sent word to Damas that 
he would be ready with a champion at the hour 
appointed, and trust to God's grace for the issue 
of the combat. 

When morning came, Arthur was arrayed in a 
suit of chain mail and provided with a strong horse, 
which he viewed with knightly ardor. 

" When shall we to the field ? ' he asked Damas. 

" As soon as you have heard Mass." 


Mass was scarcely ended when a squire rode up 
from Ontzlake, to say that his knight was already 
in the field, and to bid Damas bring his champion 
to the lists, for he was prepared to do battle to the 

Then Arthur mounted his war-horse and rode 
to the field, attended by all the knights and com- 
mons of the country round ; twelve good men of the 


district having been chosen to wait upon the two 
knights, and see that the battle was conducted fairly 
and according to the rules of chivalry. 

As they rode forward a damsel came to Arthur, 
bringing him a sword like unto Excalibur, with a 
scabbard that seemed in every point the same. 

"Morgan le Fay sends you your sword, for the 
great love she bears you/' said the messenger, " and 
hopes it may do you worthy service in the fray." 

Arthur took it and thanked her, never dreaming 
that he had been treated falsely. But the sword 
that was sent him was but a brittle and worthless 
blade, and the scabbard was a base counterfeit of 
that magic one which he who wore could lose no 
blood, and which he in brotherly trust had given 
to the care of his faithless sister. 



THE time for the battle having come, the two 
knights took their places at the opposite sides of 
the lists, neither knowing with whom he fought, 
and both bent on doing battle to the death. Then 
putting spurs to their steeds, they dashed across the 
field with headlong speed, each striking the other in 
the middle of the shield with his spear, and with 
such force that horses and men alike were hurled 
to the earth. In a moment both the combatants 


started up in warlike fury and drew their swords. 

At this juncture there came among the spectators 
the damsel jSTimue, she who had put Merlin under 
the stone. She knew, by the art that Merlin had 
taught her, how Morgan le Fay had plotted that 
Arthur should be slain that day, and she came to 
save his life if it lay in her power, for she loved 
the king as deeply as she hated Merlin. 

Eagerly to battle went the two knights, hewing 
at each other like giants with their swords. But 
Arthur's blade bit not like Accolan's, which wounded 
him at nearly every stroke, so that soon his blood 
was flowing from a dozen wounds, while his oppo- 
nent remained unhurt. 

Arthur was in deep dismay on beholding this. 
That some treason had been practised on him he 
felt sure, for his sword bit not steel as a good blade 
should, while the sword in Accolan's hand seemed 
to have the trenchant edge of Excalibur. 

" Sir knight/' said Accolan, " keep well your 
guard if you care for life." 

" Thus will I," answered Arthur, and he dealt 
him a blow on the helm that nearly brought him 
to the ground. 

Accolan drew back from the staggering stroke, 
and then with a furious onset rushed on Arthur, 
and dealt him so fierce a blow that the king had 
much ado to keep his feet. Thus stroke by stroke 
went on the battle, each knight roused to fury, and 
each fighting with his utmost skill and strength; 
but Accolan lost scarcely a drop of blood, while 
Arthur's life-blood flowed so freely that only his 
knightly soul and unyielding courage kept him on 


his feet. He grew so feeble that he felt as if death 
was upon him, yet, though he staggered like a 
drunken man, he faced Accolan with the unquenched 
spirit of a noble knight. 

All who saw the field marvelled that Arthur 
could fight after such a loss of blood. So valiant 
a knight none there had ever beheld, and many 
prayed the two brothers to come into accord and 
stop this deadly fray. But this Damas would not 
do, and though Ontzlake trembled for his cause 
he could not end the combat. 

At this juncture Arthur withdrew a little to rest, 
but Accolan called him fiercely to the fight, saying, 
" I shall not suffer you to rest ; neither of us must 
rest except in death." 

With these words he advanced towards the king, 
who, with the strength of rage, sprang upon him 
and struck him so mighty a blow on the helm as 
to make him totter on his feet and nearly fall. 
But the blow had a serious ending, for Arthur's 
sword broke at the cross, the blade falling into 
the blood-stained grass, and only the hilt and 
pommel remaining in his hand. 

When Arthur saw himself thus disarmed he felt 
sure that his hour of death had come, yet he let not 
his dread be seen, but held up his shield and lost 
no ground, facing his mortal foe as boldly as though 
he was trebly armed. 

" Sir knight," cried Accolan, " you are overcome, 
and can no longer sustain the battle. You are 
weaponless, and have lost so much blood that I am 
loath to slay you. Therefore yield to me as 
recreant, and force me not to kill a helpless foe." 

Copyright by Frederick Hollyer, London, England. 





"That I may not do," said Arthur. "I have 
promised, by the faith of my body, to fight this 
battle to the uttermost ; and I had rather 'die in 
honor than live in shame. If I lack weapon, I lack 
not spirit ; and if you slay me weaponless, the shame 
be on you." 

" That shame I can bear," said Accolan. " What 
I have sworn I will perform. Since you will not 
yield, you are a dead man." 

This said, he struck Arthur a furious blow, that 
almost felled him to the earth, bidding him at the 
same time to crave for mercy if he would live. 
Arthur's only reply was to press upon him with 
his shield, and deal him such a buffet with the 
pommel of his sword as to send him staggering 
three paces back. 

And now the damsel Mmue, stirred by the 
prowess of the king, and fearful of his death, deter- 
mined to aid him by all her power of enchantment. 

Therefore, when Accolan recovered himself and 
struck Arthur another stroke, she threw a spell 
upon him and caused the sword to fall from his 
hand to the earth. At once the king lightly leaped 
to it and seized it, thrusting Accolan fiercely back. 
As soon as his hand had touched the hilt he knew 
it for his sword Excalibur. 

" You have been too long from me," he said, 
" and no small damage you have done me. Treason 
has been at work, and treason shall have its deserts." 

Then, seeing the scabbard hanging by Accolan's 
side, he sprang suddenly forward and wrenched 
it from him, flinging it across the field as far as he 
could throw it. 


" Xow, sir knight," cried Arthur, " my turn has 
come. You have nearly brought my life to an 
end with this sword, and I warrant that you shall 
be rewarded for the blood I have lost and the pain 
I have endured this day." 

Therewith, furious as a wounded lion, Arthur 
rushed upon his foe, hurled him with all his strength 
to the earth, tore off his helm, and gave him such 
a blow upon the head that blood burst out from his 
ears, nose, and mouth. 

" Xow shall I slay you," said Arthur. 

" Do so if you will/' said Accolan. " You are the 
best knight I ever met, and I see now that God is 
with you. But I promised to do this battle to the 
uttermost, and never to yield me recreant. There- 
fore kill me if you will, for my voice shall never 
ask for mercy." 

Then Arthur, looking closer, saw something 
familiar in his face. 

" Tell me who you are," he cried ; " of what 
country and court." 

" Sir knight," said Accolan, " I am of the court 
of King Arthur, and my name is Accolan of Gaul." 

Arthur heard this with deep dismay. For there 
came into his mind the enchantment of the ship, 
and his heart sank with fear of the treason of his 

" Tell me this also, sir knight," he asked, " from 
whom had you this sword ? ' 

" Woe worth that sword," cried Accolan ; " I 
have gotten my death by it." 

" That may well be/' answered Arthur, " and I 
fancy have got no more than you deserve." 


" Yesterday/' said the knight, " Morgan le Fay 
sent me that sword by a dwarf, that with it I might 
slay the knight with whom I should fight this day ! 
And she would also pledge me to slay King Arthur, 
her brother, for she hates him above any man in 
the world/' 

(f How know you that to be so ? ' 

" I have loved her long, and know her purposes 
well, nor shall I longer keep them secret. If by 
craft she could slay Arthur, she would quickly 
dispose of her husband, King Uriens. Then it was 
her intent to make me king of this realm, and to 
reign herself as its queen. But all this now is 
at an end, for death is upon me." 

" It would have been great wrong in you to 
destroy your lord," said Arthur. 

" That I never could have had the heart to do," 
said Accolan. " But I pray you to tell me your 
name, and from what court you come ? ' 

" I am from Camelot, and men know me as King 
Arthur. I am he against whom you plotted such 
deep treason." 

Then Accolan cried out in anguish, 

" My fair, sweet lord, have mercy on me, for I 
knew you not." 

" You knew me not at this time, Accolan, but 
you have confessed that you plotted treason against 
me, and laid plans to compass my death. Yet I 
blame you the less that Morgan le Fay has worked 
on you with her false arts. I have honored and 
loved her most of all my kin, and have trusted her 
as I would my wife, and this is how she repays me. 
By the faith of my body, if I live I shall be deeply 
revenged upon her for this." 


Then he called to the keepers of the field, and 

" Here, fair sirs, are two knights who have fought 
nearly to the death through ignorance of each 
other. For had either of us known the other you 
would have seen no battle to-day, and no stroke 
given or returned." 

Then Accolan called out to those who had gath- 
ered around, 

" Lords and knights, this noble warrior with 
whom I have fought is the man of most valor, man- 
hood, and worship on English soil, for he is no 
less than our liege lord, King Arthur. Had I but 
dreamed it was he, I would have killed myself 
rather than have drawn sword against him." 

At this surprising news the people fell upon their 
knees before the king and begged mercy and pardon. 

" Pardon you shall have/' said the king, " for 
you were ignorant of my person. It is my fault if 
harm came to me in disguise. And here you may 
all see what adventures and dangers knights-errant 
are exposed to; for, unknown to each other, I and 
one of my own knights have fought for hours, to 
the great damage of us both. We are both sorely 
hurt, but before seeking rest it is mv duty to settle 

O v *J 

the dispute which gave rise to this combat. I have 
been your champion, Sir Damas, and have won your 
cause. But as the victor I claim the right to give 
judgment, and as I know you for a villain and 
coward, I adjudge unto your brother all the manor 
in dispute, with the provision that he hold it of you, 
and yearly give you in lieu of rent a palfrey to ride 
upon, which will become such a base poltroon much 


better than a war-horse. And I charge you, upon 
pain of death, to restore to these twenty knights 
their armor and property, and never again to dis- 
tress a knight-errant. If complaint of such shall 
be made to me, by my head, you shall die for it. Sir 
Ontzlake, you are said to be a good and valiant 
knight, and true and worthy in your deeds. I desire 
you to come to my court as soon as possible, where 
you shall be one of my knights, and, if your deeds 
hereafter conform to the good report I have heard 
of you, you soon shall equal your brother in estate." 

" I am at your command/' said Ontzlake, " and 
thank you humbly for your goodness and bounty. 
As for this battle, I would have fought it myself, 
only that lately I was deeply wounded in a combat 
with a wandering knight." 

"I would it had been so," said Arthur, "for 
treason was used against me in this combat, and 
had I fought with you I should not have been so 
badly hurt. My own sword was stolen and I was 
given a false and brittle blade, which failed me in 
my greatest need." 

" Great pity it is that a king so noble and a knight 
so worthy should have been thus foully dealt with." 

" I shall reward the traitor in short time, by the 
grace of God," said Arthur. "Now tell me how 
far I am from Camelot ? ' 

" You are two days' journey distant." 

" Then where can I obtain shelter and rest ? ' 

" There is an abbey but three miles distant where 
you will find skilled leeches and good nursing." 

Then King Arthur took his leave of the people, 
and repaired with Accolan to the abbey, where he 


and the knight were placed under medical care. 
Arthur's wounds, though deep and painful, proved 
not serious, and he rapidly recovered, but Accolan 
had lost so much blood that he died within four 
days.' Then Arthur had the corpse sent on a horse- 
bier, attended by six knights, to Camelot, saying to 
the messengers, 

" Bear this body to my sister, Morgan le Fay, 
and say to her that I send it as a present. Tell 
her, moreover, that, through her sisterly kindness, 
I have again my sword Excalibur and the scabbard, 
and shall visit her ere long." 



IN the meantime Morgan le Fay was so sure of 
the success of her murderous plot, to aid which 
she had used all her power of necromancy, that she 
felt it safe to complete her scheme. Seeing her 
husband, King Uriens, lying asleep upon his couch, 
she called a maiden, who was in her confidence, 
and said, 

" Bring me my lord's sword. Now shall my 
work be ended." 

" Oh, madam/' cried the damsel, " would you 
slay your lord ! If you do so you can never escape." 

" Leave that to me, girl. Bring me the sword at 
once; I am the best judge of what it is fit to do." 


The damsel departed with a heavy heart, but 
finding Sir Uwaine, King Uriens' son, asleep in 
another chamber, she waked him and said, 

" Rise at once and go to your mother. She has 
vowed to kill the king, your father, and has sent 
me in all haste for his sword." 

" To kill him ! " cried Uwaine. " What treach- 
ery is this ? But go, bring the sword as she bids. 
Leave it to me to deal with her." 

The damsel did as she was bidden, and brought 
the sword to the queen, giving it to her with hands 
that quaked with fear. Morgan seized it with a 
firm grasp, and went boldly to the bedside, where 
she stood looking with cruel eyes on the sleeping 
king. As she lifted the sword for the murderous 
blow, Uwaine, who had silently entered, sprang 
upon her and seized her hand in a crushing grip. 

" You fiend, what would you do ? ' he fiercely 
cried. " If you were not my mother I would smite 
off your head with this sword. Men say that Mer- 
lin was born of a devil; but well I believe that I 
have an earthly fiend for mother. To kill my 
father thus ! in his slumber ! what foul device 
is this ? " 

His face and voice were so full of righteous fury 
that the queen quaked to her heart with fear, 
and she clasped her hands in terror upon her throat. 

" Oh, Uwaine, my dear son, have mercy on me ! 
The foul fiend tempted me to this deed. Let me 
live to repent of this base intent, which I pray 
you to keep secret. I swear never again to attempt 
so foul a deed." 

" Can I trust you ? Truth and murder do not 
go together." 


" On my soul, I vow to keep my word ! ' 

" Live, then ; but beware you rouse me not again 
by such a murderous thought/' 

Hardly had the false-hearted queen escaped from 
the indignation of her son when tidings came to her 
which filled her with as deep a dread as when 
Uwaine had threatened her with the sword, while 
the grief it brought her was deeper than her fear. 
For she learned that Accolan had been slain in the 
battle, and that his dead body had been sent her. 
Soon, indeed, came the funeral train, with the mes- 
sage that Arthur had sent. Then sorrow and ter- 
ror together filled her heart till it threatened to 
break, for she had loved Accolan with all her soul, 
and his fate wounded her almost to death. But she 
dared not let this grief be seen upon her counten- 
ance, lest the secret of her love should be discov- 
ered; and she was forced to wear a cheerful aspect 
above a bleeding heart. And this she knew, besides, 
that if she should remain in Camelot until Arthur's 
return, all the gold in the realm would not buy 
her life. 

She went, therefore, unto Queen Guenever and 
asked leave to ride into the country. 

" Why not remain to greet your brother on his 
return ? He sends word that he will soon be here." 

" I should much like to, Guenever, but hasty 
tidings have come which require that I should 
make no delay." 

"If that be so," answered Guenever, " let me not 
stay you. You may depart when you will." 

On the next morning, before daybreak, Morgan 
took horse, and rode all that day and the greater 


part of the night. On the following day by noon 
she came to the abbey where Arthur lay. Here 
she asked the nuns where he was, and they an- 
swered that he was sleeping in his chamber, for 
he had had but little rest during the three nights 

" Then see that none of you waken him/' sne 
said. " I will go visit him in his chamber. I am 
his sister, Morgan le Fay/' 

Saying this, she sprang from her horse and 
entered the abbey, going straight to Arthurs cham- 
ber. None dare hinder her, and she suffered no one 
to accompany her. Reaching the chamber she 
found her brother asleep in bed, with the sword 
Excalibur clasped with a vigorous grip in his right 

When she saw this her heart sank, for it was 
to steal that sword she came, and she knew her 
treacherous purpose was at an end. She could not 
take the sword from his hand without wakening 
him, and that might be the warrant for her instant 
death. But the scabbard lay on a chair by the 
bedside. This she took and left the chamber, 
concealing it under her mantle as she went. 
Mounting her horse again, she rode hastily away 
with her train. 

Not long afterwards Arthur woke, and at once 
missed his scabbard. Calling his attendants in a 
loud voice, he angrily asked who had been there, 
and who had dared remove the missing scabbard. 
They told him that it was his sister, Morgan le 
Fay, and that she had put it under her mantle 
and ridden away with it, 



"Then have you watched me falsely/' cried 
Arthur, in hasty passion. 

" What could we do ? ' they answered. " We 
dared not disobey your sister's command." 

" Fetch me at once the best horse that can be 
found," he ordered, " and bid Sir Ontzlake arm 
himself in all haste, and come here well mounted 
to ride with me." 

By the hour's end these commands had been 
obeyed, and Arthur and Ontzlake rode from the 
abbey in company, well armed and on good horses, 
though the king was yet feeble from his wounds. 
After riding some distance they reached a way-side 
cross, by which stood a cowherd, whom they asked 
if any lady had lately ridden that way. 

" Yes, your honors," said the cowherd. " Not 
long ago a lady passed here at easy speed, followed 
by about forty horsemen. They rode into yonder 

Arthur and Ontzlake at this news put spurs to 
their horses and followed fast on the track of the 
fugitives. An hour of this swift pursuit brought 
them in sight of Morgan's party, and with a heart 
hot with anger Arthur rode on at the utmost pace 
of his horse. 

The fugitives, seeing themselves thus hotly chased, 
spurred on their own steeds, soon leaving the forest 
and entering a neighboring plain, beside which was 
a lake. When Morgan saw that she was in danger 
of being overtaken she rode quickly to the lake- 
side, her heart filled with spiteful hatred of her 

"Whatsoever may happen to me," she cried, "I 


vow that Arthur shall never again wear this scab- 
bard. I here consign it to the lake. From the 
water it came ; to the water it returns." 

And with a strong hand she flung it far out over 
the deep waters, into which it sank like a stone., for 
it was heavy with gold and precious stones. 

Then she rode on, followed by her train, till they 
entered a valley where there were many great stones, 
and where they were for the moment out of sight 
of their pursuers. Here Morgan le Fay brought 
her deepest powers of enchantment to work, and in 
a trice she and her horse were changed into marble, 
while each of her followers became converted into a 
statue of stone. 

Hardly had this been done when Arthur and 
Ontzlake entered the valley, where they beheld 
with starting eves the marvellous transformation. 

O *j 

For in place of the fugitives they saw only horses 
and riders of solid stone, and so changed that the 
king could not tell his sister from her men, nor 
one knight from another. 

A marvel is here, indeed ! ' cried the king. 
The vengeance of God has fallen upon our foes, 
and Morgan le Fay is justly punished for her treach- 
ery. It grieves me, indeed, that so heavy a fate 
has befallen her, yet her own deeds have brought 
on her this mighty punishment." 

Then he sought on all sides for the scabbard, 
but it could nowhere be found. Disappointed in 
this, he at length turned and rode slowly back 
with his companion to the abbey whence they had 
come, their souls filled with wonder and awe. 

Yet no sooner were they well gone than the 




enchantress brought another charm to work, and 
at once she and all her people were turned again 
from stone into flesh and blood. 

" Now we can go where we will ; and may joy 
go with King Arthur/ 7 she said, with a laugh of 
triumph to her knights. " Did you note him ? ' 

" Yes," they replied. " And his countenance was 
so warlike that had we not been stone we could 
scarce have stood before him." 

" I believe you/' said Morgan. " He would have 
made sad havoc among us but for my spells." 

They now rode onward, and soon afterwards met 
a knight who bore before him on his horse another 
knight, who was unarmed, blindfolded, and bound 
hand and foot. 

" What are you about to do with that knight ? ' 
asked Morgan. 

" To drown him in yonder fountain/' was the 
reply. " He has caused my wife to prove false to 
me, and only his death will avenge my honor." 

" Is this the truth ? " she asked the bound knight. 

" It is false," he replied. " He is a villain to 
whom I have done no wrong. He took me una- 
wares or I should not have been in such a state." 

" Who are you, and of what country ? ' 

" My name is Manassen. I am of the court of 
King Arthur, and cousin to Accolan of Gaul." 

" Then for the love I bore your cousin you shall 
be delivered, and this villain be put in your plight." 

By her orders Manassen was loosed from his bonds 
and the other knight bound. Manassen took from 
him his armor and horse, and riding with him to 
the fountain, flung him remorselessly in, where 


he met the fate which he had devised for his late 
prisoner. Then Manassen rode back to Morgan, 
and asked her if she had any word to send King 

" Tell him/' she answered, " that I rescued you 
not for love of him, but of Accolan; and that I 
fear him not while I can turn myself and my 
knights into stones. Let him know that you saw 
us riding in good flesh and blood, and laughing 
him to scorn. Tell him, moreover, that I can do 
stranger things than that if the need should come." 

Bidding Manassen to return with this message, 
she rode with her train into the country of Gore, 
where she was well received, and in the might of 
whose castles and towns she felt secure from Ar- 
thur's wrath, for much she feared his vengeance 
should she fall into his hands. 

Meantime the king rode back to Camelot, where 
he was gladly received by his queen and his knights, 
to whom he told in full the story of Morgan le 
Fay's treason. They were all angry at this, and 
many knights declared that she should be burned. 

" Stone will not burn/' said Arthur. " But God 
has punished her." 

But as they thus conversed, Manassen came to 
the court and told the king of his adventure, deliv- 
ering to him Morgan's message. 

" Then the witch has tricked me ! ' cried the 
king, in a tone of vexation. " I might have known 
it, had I been wise. A kind sister she is, indeed ! 
But my turn will come. Treachery and magic 
may succeed for a time, but honor must win in the 


Yet despite the king's awakened distrust, he 
nearly fell a victim to his sister's vile enchantments. 
For on the succeeding morning there came a damsel 
to the court from Morgan le Fay, bearing with her 
the richest mantle that had ever been seen there. 
It was set so full of precious stones that it might 
almost have stood alone, and some of them were 
gems worth a king's ransom. 

" Your sister sends you this mantle," said the 
bearer. " That she has done things to offend you 
she knows and is sorry for; and she desires that 
you shall take this gift from her as a tribute for 
her evil thoughts. What else can be done to amend 
her acts she will do, for she bitterly regrets her 
deeds of wickedness." 

The mantle pleased the king greatly, though he 
made but brief reply as he accepted it from the 
hand of the messenger. 

At that perilous moment there came to him the 
damsel Nimue, who had so recently helped him in 
his dire need. 

" Sir, may I speak with you in private ? ' she 
asked the king. 

" What have you to say ? ' he replied, with- 
drawing from the throng. 

" It is this. Beware that you do not put on 
this mantle, and that no knight of yours puts it 
on, till you know more. The serpent does not so 
soon lose its venom. There is death in the mantle's 
folds. At least do this: before you wear it, com- 
mand that she who brought it shall put it on." 

" Well said," answered the king. " It shall be 
done as you advise." 


Then he returned to the messenger and said, 

" Damsel, I wish to see the mantle you have 
brought me tried upon yourself." 

" A king's garment on me, sir ! That would not 
be seemly." 

" Seemly or not, I command it. By my head, 
you shall wear it before it come on my back, or 
that of any man here." 


The damsel drew back, quivering with fear and 
growing pale as death. But the king commanded 
those about him to put it on her. Then was seen 
a marvellous and fearful thing. For no sooner 
had the enchanted robe been clasped around her 
form than flames burst out from its every thread, 
and in a minute she fell to the floor dead, while her 
body was burnt to a coal. 

The king's anger burst out fiercely at this, and 
his face flamed with the fire of rage. He turned 
to King Uriens and his son, who stood among the 

" My sister, your wife, is doing her utmost to 
destroy me," he said, in burning wrath. " Are you 
and my nephew, your son, joined with her in this 
work of treachery? Yet I suspect not you, King 
Uriens, for Accolan confessed to me that she would 
have slain you as w r ell as me. But as for your son, 
Uwaine, I hold him suspected, and banish him from 
my court. I can have no traitors about me." 

When these words had been spoken, Gawaine 
rose in anger, and said, 

" Whoever banishes my cousin banishes me. 
When and where Uwaine goes I go also." 

And with a stride of anger he left the great 


hall, followed by Uwaine. Then the two knights 
armed themselves, and rode together from Game- 
lot, Gawaine vowing never to return till his cousin 
had been fully and freely pardoned. 



THE two knights who had so hastily departed 
from Arthur's court were destined to see many and 
strange adventures before they should return. And 
as their wanderings and deeds were caused by the 
treason of Morgan le Fay, it is meet that they 
should here be told. 

They spent their first night in an abbey not far 
from Camelot, and on the next morning rode for- 
ward until they came to a forest. Passing through 
this, they at length found themselves in a valley 
near a tower. Here they beheld two knights fully 
armed and seated on their war-horses, while twelve 
damsels were seen to pass to and fro beneath a tree. 

When the wanderers came nearer they saw that 
on that tree hung a white shield, and that as the 
damsels passed by this they spat upon it and 
befouled it with mire. 

" Why do you do this despite to the shield ? * 
they asked, as they came up. 

" Sir knights," answered the damsels, " we have 
good cause for what we do. He who has hung 


his shield here is a knight of great prowess, but 
he is one who hates all ladies, and this is how we 
repay him for his hatred." 

" I think little of such a knight," said Gawaine. 
" Yet it may be that he has good cause for his 
hatred. He must love ladies elsewhere, if not here, 
if he be so good a knight as you say. For it is 
said that the despiser of ladies is never worthy in 
arms. What is the name of this knight ? ' 

"His name is Marhaus. He is the son of the 
king of Ireland." 

" I know him well," said Uwaine. " There is no 
man of more valor living. I saw him once at a 
tournament where no knight could stand before 

"If this is his shield," said Gawaine, "he will 
soon be here in person, and it may not prove so 
easy for these knights to face him on horseback 
as for them to stand by and see his shield befouled. 
It is not our quarrel, but we shall stay no longer 
to see this dishonor." 

Before they had withdrawn far, however, they 
saw the Irish knight riding towards his shield, and 
halted to note what would follow. At sight of him 
the damsels shrieked with terror, and ran so wildly 
towards the turret that some of them fell by the 
way. But one of the knights advanced his shield 
and cried loudly, 

" Sir Marhaus, defend yourself ! ' 

Then he and Marhaus rode fiercely together, the 
knight breaking his spear without effect, while 
Marhaus smote him in return so hard a blow that 
he was hurled to the ground with a broken neck. 


Then the other knight rode against Marhaus, but 
with the same ill success, for both horse and man 
were smitten so furiously that they fell to the 
earth dead. 

Then the knight of Ireland rode to his shield, 
and when he saw how foully it had been used he 

" This is a foul shame ; but I have requited it 
upon those dastards. For the love of her who gave 
me this white shield I shall wear it, and hang mine 
where it was/' 

Thereupon he took the white shield, and left in 
its place the one he had just used. 

Then, seeing the two errant knights, he asked 
them what they did there. They answered that 
they were from Arthur's court, and had ridden in 
search of adventures. 

" Then vou can have one here," said Marhaus. 


" I shall be glad to joust with you." 

He rode away from them to the proper range, 
without waiting for a reply. 

" Let him go," said Uwaine. " I fear he is more 
than our match." 

" I care not if he is," said Gawaine. " However 
good a knight he be, he shall not challenge us 

" Then let me meet him first. I am the weaker, 
and if he strikes me down you can revenge me." 

With these words Uwaine took his place and rode 
against the Irish knight, but with such ill fortune 
that he was hurled to the earth with a wounded 
side. When Gawaine saw this he prepared for the 
joust, and the two knights rode together with great 


force. But, as luck would have it, Gawaine's spear 
broke, while that of Marhaus held firm. In conse- 
quence, both Gawaine and his horse went to the 

In an instant the knight was on his feet, sword 
in hand, and advancing towards his adversary. 
Marhaus drew his sword and moved upon him 

" Meet me on foot," cried Gawaine, " or I will 
kill vour horse." 


" Gramercy, you teach me courtesy," said Mar- 
haus. " It is not fair for one knight to be on foot 
and the other on horse." 

Then he sprang to the ground, set his spear 
against a tree, and tied his horse. This done, he 
drew his sword and advanced upon Gawaine. 

The combat that succeeded was long and hotly 
contested, beginning at nine in the morning and 
lasting till the day was well advanced. Never had 
that forest known so obstinate and fierce a fight. 
And from nine of the clock till the hour of noon 
Gawaine grew stronger and stronger, till his might 
was thrice increased and Marhaus had much ado to 
stand before him. But as the day waned from noon 
onwards Gawaine grew feeble, while the strength 
of Marhaus steadily increased, his form seeming 
to grow larger with every hour. At length it came 
that Gawaine could scarcely stand before him. 

" Sir knight/' said Marhaus, " this I will say, that 
I never met a better man than yourself, and we have 
had a noble passage at arms. But as we have no 
quarrel, and I can see you are growing feeble, it 
were a pity to do you more harm. If you are will- 
ing, I agree to end the fight." 


" That should I have said, gentle knight/' an- 
swered Gawaine. " I am much beholden to your 

Thereupon they took off their helmets and kissed 
each other, and swore to love one another thence- 
forth as brethren in arms. Marhaus prayed that the 
two knights would lodge with him that night, and 
they rode together towards his dwelling. 

" I marvel/' said Gawaine, as they rode forward, 
" that so good a knight as you should love no ladies." 

" I love not such as those minxes of the tower, 
nor any of their sort," said Marhaus. " They are 
a false-hearted and vile-thinking crew. But to all 
honorable women I owe the best of my knightly 


They soon reached the dwelling, which was in a 
little priory, and here Marhaus gave them the best 
cheer at his disposal, the more so when he learned 
that they were sons of King Arthur's sisters. Here 
they remained seven days, until their wounds had 
fully healed. On the eighth day they took horse 
again to continue their journey. 

"We shall not part so lightly," said Marhaus. 
" I shall bring you through the forest, and mayhap 
ride farther with you." 

For seven days more they rode onward without 
adventure. Then they found themselves on the 
borders of a still greater forest, in what was known 
as the country and forest of Arroy and the land of 
strange adventures. 

" It is well named," said Marhaus. " For it is 
said that no knight ever rode into this country and 
failed to find adventures many and marvellous." 


They rode onward into the forest before them, 
and in good time found themselves in a deep and 
stony valley, traversed by a fair stream of water. 

Following this upward, they soon came to a fair 
fountain, the head of the stream, beside which 
three damsels were seated. 

Of these, the eldest was not less than threescore 
years of age. She wore a garland of gold upon 
her head, and her hair was white beneath it. The 
second damsel was thirty years of age, and she 
also wore a circlet of gold. The third was not over 
fifteen years old, and her garland was of flowers. 

The knights halted and looked at them in sur- 
prise, asking them why they sat by that lonely 

" We are here to await knights-errant who come 
in quest of adventures/' they said. " If you three 
knights are in search of things strange -and stirring, 
each of you must choose one of us. When this is 
done we shall lead you unto three highways, one 
of which each of you must take, and his damsel with 
him. This day twelvemonth you must meet here 
again, and to all this you must pledge your troth, 
if God give you your lives to return." 

" You speak well," said Marhaus. " Adventures 
we seek, and no true knight-errant hesitates before 
the unknown and the dangerous. We shall do as 
you say, each of us choose one of you, and then, 
whatsoever fortune wills, let it come." 

" As for me," said Uwaine, " since I am the 
youngest and weakest of the three, I choose the 
eldest damsel. I have more need of help than 
either of you, and her age and knowledge may aid 
me well." 


" Then I shall take her of middle age," said 
Marhaus. " She fits me best." 

" I thank you both/' said Gawaine. " You have 
left me the youngest and fairest, and the one most 
to my liking." 

This said, each damsel took the reins of her 
knight, and they led them to the parting of the 
three ways. Here the knights took oath to meet 
at the fountain that day twelvemonth if they were 
living, kissed each other, and departed, each knight 
taking his chosen lady on his steed behind him. 
Of the three ways, Uwaine took that which lay 
west, Marhaus that which lay south, and Gawaine 
took the way that lay north. 

Of the three we shall first follow Gawaine, who 
rode forward until he came to a fair manor, where 
dwelt an old knight. 

" Are there any adventures to be found in this 
country ? ' he asked him. 

" I shall show you some marvellous ones to- 
morrow," said his host. 

In the morning, Gawaine and the old knight rode 
into the forest of adventures till they came to a 
wide, open lawn, upon which stood a cross. Here 
they halted and looked about them, and ere long 
saw approaching a knight of seemly aspect, who 
made the bitterest lamentations as he advanced. 
When he saw Gawaine he saluted him, and hoped 
that God would send him honor. 

"As to that, gramercy," said Gawaine. "I 
pray God, in return, that he send you honor and 

"That will not come," said the knight. "He 
sendeth me but sorrow and shame." 


As he spoke he passed on to the other side of 
the lawn. Here Gawaine saw ten knights, stand- 
ing with shields and spears ready against this one 
warrior. But he rode against them one by one, 
thrusting some over their horses' tails, and hurling 
others to the ground, horse and man, until with one 
spear he had unhorsed them all. 

But when they were all ten on foot they went to 
the dolorous knight, who stood stone still, pulled 
him from his horse, and tied him beneath the 
animal, without the least resistance on his part. 
This done, they led him away, thus shamefully 

" That is an ugly sight," said Gawaine. " Why 
does a knight of such prowess as this suffer himself 
to be so vilely treated ? ' 

" Sir," said the damsel to Gawaine, " why helped 
you not that good knight ? ' 

" He seems to want no help," said Gawaine. 
" He could have taken care of himself if he would." 

" You had no desire to help him," retorted the 
damsel, " or you would not have stood by and 
seen so noble a warrior so foullv served." 


As they talked a knight appeared on the other 
side of the lawn, all armed but the head. And 
opposite him came a dwarf on horseback similarly 
armed. He had a great mouth and a short nose, 
and was as ill favored as one would care to see. 

" Where is the lady who should meet us here ? ' 
asked the dwarf. 

In response thereto a fair lady rode from the 
wood, mounted on a handsome palfrey. On seeing 


her the knight and the dwarf began to strive in hot 
words for her, each saying that she should be his 

" Yonder is a knight at the cross," said the dwarf, 
at length. " Let us leave it to him, and abide by 
his decision." 

" I agree to that," said the knight. 

Thereupon they rode to Gawaine and told him 
the purpose of their strife. 

" Do you put the matter into my hands ? ' he 

"Yes," they both replied. 

" Then this is my decision. Let the lady stand 
between you and make her own choice. The one 
she chooses, he shall have her." 

This was done, and at once the lady turned from 
the knight and went to the dwarf. Then the dwarf 
took her and went singing away, while the knight 
rode in grief and sorrow into the forest. 

But the adventures of that day were not ended, 
for soon afterwards two armed knights rode from 
the forest, and one of them cried out loudly, 

" Sir Gawaine, knight of King Arthur, I am 
here to joust with you. So make ready." 

" Since you know me, I shall not fail you," 
answered Gawaine. 

Then the knights drew apart, and rode so furi- 
ously together that both were unhorsed. Springing 
up, they drew their swords and continued the battle 
on foot. 

Meanwhile, the second knight went to the damsel 
and asked why she stayed with that knight, and 
begged her to go with him. 


" That I will do/' she replied. " I like not the 
way Gawaine acted just now, when one brave knight 
was overturned by ten dastards. So let us go while 
they fight/' 

The combat continued long, and then, as the 
knights seemed evenly matched, they ceased in 
amity, the stranger knight inviting Gawaine to 
spend the night at his lodge. As they rode thither 
he asked his host, 

"Who is this valiant champion that overturns 
ten knights, and then suffers them to bear him o2 
bound hand and foot? I never saw so shameful a 
thing done." 

" The thing has happened ten times and more," 
said Sir Carados. "The knight is one of noble 
prowess, named Sir Pelleas, and he loves a great 
lady of this country named Ettard, who loves him 
not in return. What you have seen came about in 
this way. There was of late days a great tournament 
in this country, at which Pelleas struck down every 
knight who was opposed to him, unhorsing twenty 
knights within three days. His valor and prowess 
won him the prize, which was a good sword, and a 
golden circlet to be given to the fairest lady at 
the lists. This circlet of gold he gave to the lady 
Ettard, whom he chose for the sovereign of his heart 
and the lady he loved above all women. But she 
was so proud and haughty that she returned him 
scorn for his love, and though he has followed her 
to her home she will not listen to his suit, or admit 
him in honor to her presence. He is lodged here 
near her, but can gain sight of her only in a shame- 
ful way. Every week she sends knights to fight 



with him, and when he has overcome them he suffers 
them to take him prisoner that he may feast his 
eyes on the face of his loved lady. But she does 
him great despite, for sometimes she has him 
brought in tied to his horse's tail, and sometimes 
bound under the horse, or in any other shameful 
manner she can think of. For all this he will not 
leave, but makes himself a martyr to his love." 

" He is a noble knight, and I greatly pity him/' 
said Gawaine. " I shall seek him to-morrow in 
the forest, and do what I can to help him/' 

In the morning he met Sir Pelleas, as he had 
promised, and heard from him the story of his woe. 

" If I loved her not so truly I should rather die 
a hundred times than suffer such despite," he said. 
" But I trust that she will pity and love me at 

" Let me aid you, so far as I can," said Gawaine. 
" I promise to do my utmost to gain you the love 
of your lady." 

" Tell me who, and of what court, you are, my 
good friend ? ' asked Pelleas. 

" My name is Gawaine ; I am nephew to King 
Arthur, and King Lot of Orkney was my father." 

" My name is Pelleas," answered the lovelorn 
knight. "I was born in the Isles, and am lord 
of many isles, but never till this unhappy time 
have I loved a lady. I pray you help me faithfully, 
for I get nothing from her but vile rebuke. She 
will not even hold me as prisoner, that I might see 
her daily, but robs me of my horse and armor, and 
has me thrust despitefully from her gates. She 
lives in a strong castle near by, and is lady of all 


this country. I fear you will not find it easy to 
obtain entrance.'' 

" I shall use art instead of strength/' said 
Gawaine. " Lend me your horse and armor, and 
I will ride to her castle and tell her I have slain 
you. She will let me in at that. Once admitted, 
I shall do my best to win you her love." 

He plighted his honor to this, and therewith they 
changed horses and armor. 

Leaving the knight of the doleful visage, Ga- 
waine rode to Ettard's castle, whom he found in 
her pavilion outside the gate. On seeing him she 
hastily fled to the castle, but he called her loudly, 
declaring that he was not Pelleas, and that he had 
slain the knight and won his horse and armor. 

" Take off your helm," she replied. " Let me see 
your face." 

Gawaine did so, and when she saw that he spoke 
the truth she bade him alight and led him into the 
castle, questioning him who he was and how he had 
slain her tormenting admirer. 

" I am sorry for his death," she said, " for he was 
a worthy knight ; but of all men I hated him most, 
and could never rid myself of his importunities. 
As for you, Sir Gawaine, since you have done me 
this service, I shall be your lady, for I cannot but 
love you." 

Then Gawaine was so entranced by the lady 
Ettard's blue eyes and fair face that he shamefully 
forgot his word of honor, and warmly returned 
her love. He remained with her and her knights 
in the castle, so happy in her presence as to ignore 
all the claims of duty and knightly faith. 


It was now the month of May, and the air had 
grown warm and balmy. So it happened one even- 
ing that they all left the castle to enjoy themselves 
on the flowery meads outside. Believing Pelleas 
to be dead, Ettard lost all dread of unwelcome 
intrusion, and suggested that they should spend 
the night in the open air, lulled to sleep by the soft 
winds and the perfume of flowers. 

But by fortune it chanced that Pelleas, hearing 
no word from Gawaine, that night mounted his 
horse and rode to the castle. It was a late hour, 
and he was surprised to see pavilions erected out- 
side the gate, and couches spread in the open air. 
As he came near he saw knights and ladies asleep 
on these, while side by side lay Ettard and Gawaine, 
locked in deep slumber. 

Anger and pain so filled the knight's heart at 
this that he drew his sword to slay his faithless 
friend, but on calmer thought he laid the naked 
blade athwart the throats of knight and lady and 
rode away. On reaching his tent, he told his atten- 

*/ O 

dants what treachery he had endured, and that he 
had resolved to take to his bed and lie there till he 
should die. 

" And when I am dead I charge you to take my 
heart and bear it to the lady Ettard in a silver dish, 
and tell her that her falseness has slain the faithful- 
est of lovers." 

Meanwhile Gawaine and Ettard awoke, and their 
dread was great on finding the sword across their 

" It is Pelleas's sword ! ' she cried. " You have 
betrayed him and me both, for you lied to me in 


saying that you had killed him. Only that he has 
proved himself a man of true honor, he would have 
slain us both. Leave me, traitor ! Never let me 
see your false face again ! ' 

Gawaine had no words in answer, but hastily 
mounted his horse and rode into the forest, feeling 
at heart that he had proved a traitor both to honor 
and love. 

When morning dawned it happened that Nimue, 
the damsel of the lake, who bv chance had come 


into that country, met with a follower of Sir Pel- 

\J r 

leas, who was grieving sorely for the ill fortune of 
his master. She asked him the cause of his grief, 
and he told her the woeful tale of the lovelorn 
knight, and how he had taken to his bed, vowing 
never again to rise. 

" He shall not die of love, I warrant you that," 
she said. " Bring me to him. I promise you that 
she who has treated him so vilely shall feel all the 
pain she has made him endure." 

She was accordingly brought to the tent of Pel- 
leas, and a feeling of pity and love grew in her 
heart as she looked on his noble and woe-worn face 
while he lay asleep. Therefore she deepened his 
slumber with a spell of enchantment, and charging 
that no man should wake him before her return, 
she rode through the forest to Ettard's castle. 

Within two hours she brought the lady Ettard 
to the tent, where Pelleas still lay wrapped in deep 

" You should do penance for life to murder such 
a knight as this," she said. " You have treated a 
true lover with shameful despite, and for love's 


sake you shall pay the penalty of your misdeeds." 
Then she threw so deep a spell of enchantment 
on the proud lady that her former scorn turned to 
the deepest love, and her heart went out to Pelleas 
as if it would break with sorrow and remorse. 

" Alas ! ' she cried, " I hated him above all men. 
What has befallen me that I love him now with 
mv whole soul ? " 


" It is God's righteous judgment," said Nimue. 

As they spoke Pelleas awoke, and when he looked 
upon Ettard his eyes filled with scorn and hatred. 

" Awa) 7 , traitress ! ' he cried. "Never again 
come within my sight. You have taught me to hate 
you as much as I ever loved." 

These scornful words wounded Ettard to the soul. 
She turned away weeping bitterly, and left the 
tent overwhelmed with anguish. 

" Take your horse and leave this country, Sir 
Pelleas," said the damsel. " Love not again till you 
can give your heart to a lady who is worthy of it." 

" I have found such a one now," said the knight, 
fixing his eyes with warm feeling upon her face. 
" This lady Ettard has treated me despitefully and 
turned all my love for her to hatred and scorn. 
But the love I felt for her has gone out to you." 

" Thank me for your delivery," said Nimue. 
" It is too soon to talk of love. But this I may 
say, that if you love me as you vow, you shall not 
find me another Ettard." 

Soon after Pelleas arose and armed, and bidding 
his men to follow with the pavilions and furniture, 
rode into the forest with the damsel of the lake, for 
whom the love in his heart grew each moment 



And thus this woeful story ends in true love's 
joy and retribution ; for the false lady Ettard died 
in lovelorn sorrow, but Pelleas and Nimue lived 
together in true love during the remainder of their 
days, she becoming his dear lady and wife. 

Meanwhile Marhaus and Uwaine pursued their 
course and had their adventures, but they were not 
so many and strange as those of Gawaine, and there- 
fore we shall not tell them in full. 

As for Uwaine, who rode away with the old dam- 
sel, he gained great honor at a tournament near the 
Welsh marches, winning the prize, which was a 
gerfalcon, and a white steed with trappings of cloth 
of gold. Many other adventures he had, and at last 
came to the castle of a noble lady, who was called 
the Lady of the Rock. Her lands had been taken 
from her by two robber knights, named Sir Edward 
and Sir Hue of the Red Castle. These Uwaine 
fought together, and with such good fortune that he 
killed Sir Edward and forced Sir Hue to surrender 
the ladv's lands. Then he dwelt at the castle of the 


Lady of the Rock for six months, till he was healed 
of the many and deep wounds he had received in 
his battle with the robber knights. 

Meanwhile, Marhaus rode southward with the 
damsel of thirty summers. Many adventures he 
had, and he won a circlet of gold as the victor in 
a tournament. At length he stopped at the castle 
of a noble earl named Fergus, whose lands were 
harried by a giant named Taulard. Him Marhaus 
proffered to fight, as neither the earl nor any of 
his men dared meet him. 

Fierce and perilous was the battle that followed, 
for the giant was of monstrous height and strength, 


and armed with iron clubs and great battle-axes. 
But after a terrible contest, Marhaus, by a nimble 
stroke, cut off Taulard's right arm. Then the giant, 
bellowing with pain and terror, fled, and rushed 
into a stream of water beyond his pursuer's reach. 
But stones were brought to Marhaus by Fergus's 
men, and with these he battered the giant so sorely 
that at length he fell over into the water, where 
he was quickly drowned. 

Afterwards the victorious champion went to the 
giant's castle, where he found in close captivity 
twentv-four ladies and twelve knights. These he 

*/ O 

delivered from prison. He found also a great store 
of wealth,, enough to make him rich for the remain- 
der of his life. 

When the year ended the three knights met again 
at the fountain, two of them with their damsels; 
but Gawaine had lost his, and had come back much 
shorn of honor. Soon after they met by chance 
a messenger from King Arthur, who had long been 
seeking the banished knights, with orders to bring 
them back to the court. 

So the three knights journeyed to Camelot, where 
the king received them graciously, and listened with 
admiration to the story of their adventures. And 
there, at the feast of Pentecost, came Pelleas and 
Nimue, true lovers plighted. Then were held high 
feasts and tournaments, where many noble knights 
splintered spears and much honor was lost and won. 
And here Marhaus and Pelleas bore themselves with 
such noble and mighty prowess, that all men vowed 
the glory of the tournament was theirs, and King 
Arthur, glad to reward such deeds of valor, made 
them Knights of the Table Round. 





AFTER the strange deeds and adventures that 
have just been described, a season of war came 
again to King Arthur and his realm, through which 
he won great honor and renown. For Lucius, the 
Emperor of Rome, sent ambassadors to Arthur, 
demanding tribute; and when he proudly refused 
this demand Lucius gathered a great army and 
invaded the tributary domains of Arthur, in Gaul. 

Long and fierce was the war that followed, for 
Arthur crossed to Gaul with all the power of his 
realm; fought and killed, single-handed, a huge 
giant who dwelt on St. Michael's Mount; defeated 
the army of Rome, and killed the emperor in single 
combat; and in the end was crowned emperor, in 
the imperial city of Rome. 

All this story the chronicles give at length, and 
tell us also that in this war the noble Lancelot du 
Lake, son of King Ban of Gaul, gained his first 
measure of renown. 

After the war had ended and the victorious host 
returned to England, many adventures came to 
Lancelot, some of which we must here tell. Great 



indeed was the valor and might of this worthiest 
of knights, who in after years proved himself in 
knightly prowess and chivalric honor the noblest 
of men. In tournaments and deeds of arms, in 
sportive war or battle for life or death, he passed 
all other knights, and was never overcome but by 
treason or enchantment. 

After Arthur's return from Eome sports and 
feasts were given, and jousts and tournaments held, 
in which the Knights of the Round Table took part, 
many who had gained no great fame in the war now 
proving themselves able and worthy warriors. But 
above them all Lancelot displayed such skill and 
prow r ess that he increased in honor and worship 
beyond any knight of Arthur's court. 

And, as fortune and fate decreed, he loved Queen 
Guenever above all other ladies, while she held him 
in favor above all other knights, a favor that was 
destined thereafter to bring deep sorrow and trouble 
to England's realm. For her sake he did many 
noble deeds of arms, and he was looked upon as her 
especial champion by all the court. 

After the return from Rome Lancelot rested long 
at the court, taking part in all its feasts and gaye- 
ties. But in time he grew weary of sport and play, 
and of the idle ways and empty flatteries of cour- 
tiers, and felt a strong desire to wander abroad in 
search of strange adventures. So he bade his 
nephew, Sir Lionel, to make ready, saying to him 
that they two would leave the court and ride as 
knights-errant through the land, to right wrongs 
and punish crimes, to rescue the oppressed and 
overthrow the proud and haughty, and knightly 
to do and dare wherever they went. 


So on a day in spring, when the summer was com- 
ing with its flowers to adorn the rich green of the 
grassy meads, and the birds sang gayly in the trees, 
the two knights armed themselves at all points and 
rode abroad, passing soon through a deep forest 
and into a verdant plain beyond. 

Noon now came on, and the weather grew close 
and sultry, so that Lancelot became drowsy. This 
he told to Lionel, who pointed to a large apple-tree 
by a hedge, and said, 

" Yonder is a cool shadow. There we may rest 
ourselves and our horses till the noontide heat has 

" You speak to the point/' said Lancelot. " Not 
for seven years have I been so sleepy as I am now ? " 

They thereupon alighted, and tied their horses 
to neighboring trees, and Lancelot laid himself 
down beneath the apple-boughs, with his helmet 
under his head for a pillow. Soon he was in deep 
slumber, though Lionel kept awake. 

As they lay thus three knights came riding by 
in panic fear, pushing their horses to the utmost 
speed, while a single knight followed them in 
furious pursuit. So well-made and strong-limbed 
a man as this Lionel thought he had never seen 
nor one in all respects so fully armed. 

As he looked, the pursuing knight overtook one 
of the fugitives, and with a thrust of his spear flung 
him prostrate to the ground. Then he served the 
other two in the same manner. This done, he 
alighted and bound the three knights with their 
own bridle-reins. 

When Lionel saw this, anger filled his soul, and 


he thought to win honor in a bout of arms with 
this vigorous champion, so he quietly took his 
horse, so as not to waken Lancelot, and rode towards 
the victor, loudly bidding him turn and try his 
fortune in a joust. 

But the ambitious young knight soon found that 
he had let youthful pride bring him into trouble, 
for the strong warrior smote him so hard a blow 
that horse and man went together to the earth. 
Then the victor alighted and served Lionel as he 
had done the others, binding him and flinging him 
athwart his own horse. 

He did the same with the three others, and rode 
away with his prisoners, until he came to a castle 
that lay beyond the plain. Here he forced them 
to remove their armor, and beat their naked skin 
with thorns till they were ready to swoon with the 
pain. Then he had them thrust into a deep prison 
where were many other knights, whose groans and 
lamentations filled the air with doleful sounds. 

Through all this Lancelot slept on, nor did he 
waken from his slumber till another misadventure 
had taken place. For Sir Hector de Maris, the 
brother of Lionel, finding that Lancelot had left 
the court to seek adventures, was angry that he 
had not been asked to keep him company, and rode 
hastily after him, hoping to overtake him. 

After he had ridden long in the forest he met 
a man dressed like a forester, and asked him if 
any knightly adventures could be found near by. 

" Sir knight," answered the forester, " I know 
this country well, and can promise you all, and 
mayhap more, than you want. Within a mile of 


here is a strong manor; by that manor, on the 
left hand, is a fair ford for horses to drink at; 
over that ford there grows a spreading tree ; and 
on that tree hang many shields which good knights 
once wielded. On the trunk of the tree YOU will 


see a basin of brass and copper, and if you seek 
an adventure vou have but to strike that basin 


thrice with the butt of your spear. If then you do 
not soon hear tidings of interest, you will have the 
best fortune of any knight who has passed through 
this forest for many a long year." 

" Gramercy, for your tidings," said Hector, and 
rode rapidly on. 

Soon he came to the manor and the tree, and 
saw the shields of which the forester had told him, 
and to his surprise and grief he noted among them 
the shield of his brother Lionel, and many more 
that he knew belonged to Eound Table knights. 
Then, with a heart full of thoughts of revenge, he 
beat upon the basin roundly with his spear, until 
its clang rung far and wide. This done, he turned 
his horse and let him drink at the ford. 

As he stood there he heard a loud voice behind 
him, bidding him come out of the water and make 
ready, and looking round he beheld a powerfully- 
built knight on a strong horse. 

Hector wheeled his horse sharply, and putting 
his spear in rest rode furiously upon this knight, 
striking him so fierce a blow that his horse turned 
twice around. 

" Well done," said the stranger. " That was a 
knightly blow. But beware, it is my turn now." 

Ac he spoke he spurred his horse at full speed 


upon Hector, and struck him so skilfully that the 
spear-head passed under his right arm and bore 
him clear of the saddle into the air. Then, car- 
rying the knight like a trussed hare on his spear, 
the victor rode onward into his own open hall, and 
flung his captive down in the middle of the floor. 

" You have done more to me than any knight 
has done for twelve years past," said the victor, 
whose name was Sir Turquine. " Therefore I will 
grant you your life and the liberty of the castle, 
but you must swear to be my prisoner until death." 

" That will I never promise," said Hector. " I 
will remain captive to no man if I can free myself." 

" Then I shall take care that you do not escape," 
said Turquine. 

With these words he made Hector, on pain of 
death, remove his armor, and then scourged him 
with thorns as he had done the others, and flung 
him into the prison where lay so many of his 

When Hector saw his brother Lionel among 
these his heart was ready to break with sorrow. 

" What has happened to Lancelot ? ' he de- 
manded. " You rode with him, and here you are 
a prisoner. Alas ! tell me not that any harm has 
come to him." 

"Where he is and what he does I cannot tell," 
said Lionel. " I left him asleep under an apple- 
tree and rode alone on this dolorous venture. Would 
that I had wakened him first." 

" Alas ! ' cried the knights, " we may never be 
delivered unless Lancelot comes to our aid. Of 
all knights living we know none but him who is a 
fair match for Turquine, our robber lord." 




NOON had passed by, but the day was still warm, 
and Lancelot lay yet in deep slumber, dreaming 
nothing of what had happened while he slept. But 
now there rode by the apple-tree under which he 
lay a royal and brilliant cavalcade. For in it were 
four queens of high estate, who were mounted on 
white mules, and attired in regal robes, while beside 
them rode four knights who bore on their spear- 
points a cloth of green silk, so held as to shield the 
queens from the heat of the sun. 

As they rode by Lancelot's place of slumber they 
were startled by the loud neigh of a war-horse, and 
looking about them they became aware of the sleep- 
ing knight beneath the apple-tree. They drew near 
and looked upon his face, and at once knew him 
for Lancelot du Lake. Then they began pleasantly 
to strive as to which of then?, should have the sleep- 
ing knight for her lover. 

" Let me settle this debate/' said Morgan le Fay, 
who was one of the queens. " I shall by enchant- 
ment make his sleep hold for six hours to come, 
and shall have him borne to my castle. When he 
is safely within my power I shall remove the en- 
chantment, and then he shall be made to choose 
which of us he will have for his love. If he refuse 
us all he shall pay the penalty." 

She did as she had said. Lancelot was laid sleep- 
ing upon his shield and borne on horseback between 


two knights, and so brought to a castle named 
Chariot, where he was laid, still slumbering, in a 
chamber. At night-fall a fair damsel was sent to 
him with his supper ready prepared. By that time 
the enchantment was past, and Lancelot woke as the 
damsel came into his chamber and asked him how he 

" That I am not ready to say," answered Lance- 
lot ; " for I know not how I came into this castle 
unless it were by enchantment." 

" As to that I cannot speak," she replied. " I 
can but bid you eat. If } r ou be such a knight as 
men say, I shall tell you more to-morrow morn." 

" Thanks, fair damsel," said Lancelot. " It 
pleases me to have your good will." 

Little comfort had the good knight of that night's 
sleep; but early in the morning there came to him 
the four queens, each dressed in her richest attire, 
adorned with rare jewels, and as beautiful as art and 
skill could make them. 

They bade him good morning and he returned 
their greeting, looking upon them with eyes of 
admiration, but not of love. 

" You are our prisoner, sir knight," said Mor- 
gan. " We know you well. You are Lancelot of 
the Lake, King Ban's son. And well we under- 
stand that you are named the worthiest knight 
living, and that men say that no lady in the land 
but Queen Guenever can have your love. But this 
we would have you know, that you must choose 
one of us four as your heart's queen, for if you 
refuse you shall never see Arthur's queen again. I 
am Morgan le Fay, queen of the land of Gore, and 


here is the Queen of Northgalis, the Queen of East- 
land, and the Queen of the Out Islands. We bid 
you to forget Guenever and choose of us the one 
you will have for your love. If you choose not it 
will be worse for you, for I shall hold you in prison 
until death." 

" This is a hard chance/' said Lancelot, " that I 
must die in prison or profess a love that I do not 
feel. Let me tell you this, though I die twice in 
your dungeon I will have none of you, for you 
are false enchantresses and not true dames for 
honest men to love. As for dame Guenever, were 
I at liberty I would prove it on all the knights whom 
you command that she is of all ladies the truest 
to her lord/' 

" Is this, then, your answer," said Morgan, " that 
you disdain our love ? ' 

" On my life it is ! ' cried Lancelot. " Such love 
as yours is not for honest knights; and my love 
is not to be had for the bidding." 

" You may live to change your mind," said Mor- 
gan. " Prison life and prison fare may cure your 

With these words they departed, leaving Lancelot 
in gloom of mind but steadfastness of heart. 

At noon, the damsel who had brought him his 
supper the night before came with his dinner, and 
asked him again how he fared. 

" Never so ill," said Lancelot. " For never be- 
fore was I held under lock and key, and never was 
worthy knight so shamefully entreated." 

" It grieves me deeply to see you in such dis- 
tress," she said. " If you will be ruled by me., 


and make me a promise, you shall be set free from 
this prison, though at the risk of my life." 

" I will grant your wish if it be in my power/' 
said Lancelot. " These queenly sorceresses have 
destroyed many a good knight, and I would give 
much to be out of their hands/' 

" They crave your love from what they have heard 
of your honor and renown," answered the damsel. 
" They say your name is Lancelot du Lake, the 
flower of knights, and your refusal of their love has 
filled their souls with anger. But for my aid you 
might die in their hands. The promise I ask is 
this. On Tuesday morning next there is to be a 
tournament between my father and the King of 
Northgalis. My father was lately overpowered by 
three of Arthur's knights, and if you will be there 
and help him in this coming fray I will engage to 
deliver you from your bondage at dawn to-morrow." 

" Tell me your father's name," said Lancelot, 
" and then you shall have my answer." 

" His name is King Bagdemagus." 

" I know him well," said Lancelot. " He is a 
noble king and a good knight. By the faith of my 
body, I promise to give him what aid I can." 

" A hundred thanks, dear sir," she said. " Be 
ready to-morrow early. I shall be here to deliver 
you, and take you to where you can find your horse 
and armor. Within ten miles of this castle is an 
abbey of white monks. There I beg you to stay and 
thither I shall bring my father to you." 

" As I am a true knight you can trust me," said 

With this the damsel departed. But at early 


dawn of the next day she came again, as she had 
promised, and found Lancelot ready and eager for 
flight. Then they crept through hall and passage, 
with heedful tread and bated breath, until she had 
opened twelve locked doors and reached the castle 

The sun was just giving its rose tints to the east 
when she brought him to the place where his horse 
and armor were kept, and with hasty fingers helped 
him to arm. Then, taking a great spear and mount- 
ing his noble steed, Lancelot rode forth, saying 

" Fair damsel, by the grace of God I shall not 
fail you." 

And still slumber lay deep upon the castle, and 
not one of the queens nor a soul of those who dwelt 
therein was wakened by the sound. 

But not far had the escaping knight departed 
from the castle before he entered a thick forest, in 
whose depths he wandered lost all that day, finding 
no high road, and no trace of the abbey of white 
monks. Night at length came upon him, and now 
he found himself in a valley where he saw a pavil- 
ion of red sendal. 

" Fortune aids me," said Lancelot. " Whoever 
owns that pavilion, it shall give me shelter for the 

He thereupon alighted, tied his horse to a tree 
near by, and entered the pavilion, in which was a 
comfortable bed. Disarming, he laid himself there- 
in, and very soon was lost in heavy slumber. 

Within an hour afterwards the knight who owned 
the pavilion came thither, and laid himself upon the 


bed without noticing that it was already occupied. 
His entrance wakened Lancelot, who, on feeling this 
intrusion, sprang in quick alarm from the bed and 
grasped his sword. The other knight, no less 
alarmed, did the same, and sword in hand they 
rushed out from the pavilion into the open air, 
and fell into mortal combat by the side of a little 
stream that there ran past. 

The fight was quickly at an end, for after a few 
passes the knight of the pavilion fell to the earth, 
wounded nearly unto death. 

" I yield me, sir knight," he cried. " But I fear 
I have fought my last." 

" Why came you into my bed ? ' demanded 

" The pavilion is my own," said the knight. " It 
is ill fortune that I should die for seeking my own 

" Then I am sorry to have hurt you," said Lan- 
celot. " I have lately been beguiled by treason, 
and was in dread of it. Come into the pavilion. 
It may be that I can stanch your blood." 

The} r entered the pavilion, where Lancelot, with 
skilful hands, dressed the knight's wound and 
stopped the bleeding. As he did so the knight's 
lady entered the pavilion, and fell into deep lamen- 
tation and accusal of Lancelot, on seeing how sorely 
her lord was hurt. 

" Peace, my lady and love," said the knight. 
" This is a worthy and honorable gentleman. I 
am in fault for my hurt, and he has saved my life 
by his skill and care." 

" Will you tell me what knight you are ? ' asked 
the lady. 





" Fair lady," he replied, " my name is Lancelot 
du Lake." 

So your face and voice told me/' she replied, 

for I have seen you often, and know you better 
than you deem. And I would ask of your courtesy, 
for the harm you have done to my lord Beleus and 
the grief you have given me, that you will cause 
my lord to be made a Knight of the Round Table. 
This I can say for him, that he is a man of warlike 
prowess, and the lord of many islands." 

"Let him come to the court at the next high 
feast," said Lancelot ; " and come you with him. 
I shall do what I can for him, and if he prove as 
good a knight as you sa} T , I doubt not but King 
Arthur will grant your request." 

While they still talked the night passed and the 
day dawned. Then Lancelot armed himself, and 
asking of them the way to the abbey, rode thither, 
where he arrived within the space of two hours. 

As Lancelot rode within the abbey yard, the 
damsel to whom he owed his deliverance from the 
prison of Morgan le Fay sprang from a couch and 
ran to a window, roused by the loud clang of hoofs 
upon the pavement. 

Seeing who it was, she hurried gladly down, and 
bade some of the men to take his horse to the stable, 
and others to lead him to a chamber, whither she 
sent him a robe to wear when he had laid off his 

Then she entered the chamber and bade him 
heartily welcome, saying that of all knights in the 
world he was the one she most wished to see. 
Ordering breakfast to be prepared for the hungry 


knight, she sent in haste for her father, who was 
within twelve miles of the abbey. Before eventide 
he came, and with him a fair following of knights. 

As soon as King Bagdemagus reached the abbey, 
he went straight to the room where were Lancelot 
and his daughter in conversation, and took Lancelot 
in his arms, bidding him warmly welcome. 

In the talk that followed, Lancelot told the king 
of his late adventures, the loss of his nephew Lionel, 
his own betrayal, and his rescue by the maiden, his 
daughter : " For which," he said, " I owe my 
best service to her and hers while I live." 

" Then can I trust in your help on Tuesday 
next ? ' asked the king. 

" That I have already promised your daughter/' 
said Lancelot. " I shall not fail. But she tells 
me that in your last bout you lost the field through 
three of King Arthur's knights, who aided the King 
of Northgalis, and that it is against these knights 
you need assistance. What knights were they? 7 

" They were Sir Mador de la Porte, Sir Mordred, 
and Sir Gahalatine. Do what we could, neither I 
nor my knights could make head against them." 

" I would not have them know me,"' said Lan- 
celot. " My plan, therefore, is this. Send me here 
three of your best knights, and see that they have 
white shields, with no device, and that I also have 
such a shield. Then shall we four, when the fight 
is well on, come out of a wood into the midst of 
the fray, and do what we can to defeat these cham- 

This plan was carried out as Lancelot had de- 
vised. On the day fixed for the tournament he, 


with his three white-shielded companions, placed 
himself in ambush in a leafy grove near where the 
lists were raised. Around the field were rows of 
benches where the spectators might sit, and richly- 
adorned seats for the lords and ladies who were to 
adjudge the combat and award the prize of skill 
and valor. 

Then into the lists rode the King of Northgalis, 
with a following of fourscore knights, and attended 
by the three knights of Arthur's court, who stood 
apart by themselves. Into the opposite side of the 
lists rode King Bagdemagus, with as many knights 
in his train. 

When all were in place the signal for the onset 
was given, and the knights put their spears in rest 
and rode together with a great rush, and with such 
fatal fortune that twelve of the party of Bagde- 
magus and six of that of Northgalis were slain at 
the first encounter, while the knights of King Bag- 
demagus were driven back in disorder. 

At this critical juncture Lancelot and his com- 
panions broke from their concealment and rode 
into the lists, forcing their horses into the thick 
of the press. Then Lancelot did deeds of such 
marvellous strength and skill that all men deeply 
wondered who could be the valiant knight of the 
white shield. For with one spear he smote down 
five knights, with such force that four of them 
broke their backs in the fall. Then turning on the 
King of North, gal is, he hurled him from his horse 
and broke his thigh. 

The three knights of Arthur's court, who had 
not yet joined in the fray, saw this, and rode 


"A shrewd guest that," said Mador. "Let me 
have at him." 

But his fortune was not equal to his hopes, for 
Lancelot bore down horse and man, so that Mador's 
shoulder was put out of joint by the fall. 

" Now is my turn," said Mordred. 

He rode fiercely on Lancelot, who turned nimbly 
and met him in full career, Mordred's spear shiv- 
ering unto his hand when it struck the firm white 
shield. But Lancelot gave him so shrewd a buffet 
that the bow of his saddle broke, and he was flung 
over his horse's tail with such violence that his hel- 
met went more than a foot into the earth. Fortune 
saved him from a broken neck, but he lay long 
in a swoon. 

Then Gahalatine and Lancelot rode together with 
all their force, the spears of both breaking, but both 
keeping their seats. They now drew their swords, 
and struck each other many a keen blow. At length 
Lancelot, with a burst of wrath, smote Gahalatine 
so fierce a stroke on the helm that blood burst from 
his nose, mouth, and ears, and his head drooped on 
his breast. His horse ran in fright from the fray, 
while he fell headlong from his saddle to the ground. 

Lancelot now drew back and received from the 
attendants a stout, strong spear, and with this rode 
again into the fray. Before that spear broke he 
had unhorsed sixteen knights, some of them being 
borne from their saddles, while others were hurled 
horse and man together to the earth. Then getting 
another spear he unhorsed twelve more knights, 
some of whom never throve afterwards. This 
ended the tournament, for the knights of Northgalis 


refused to fight any longer against a champion of 
such mighty prowess, and the prize was awarded 
to King Bagdemagus. 

Lancelot now rode with King Bagdemagus from 
the lists to his castle, where they had great feasting 
and rejoicing, and where Lancelot was proffered 
rich gifts for the noble service he had rendered. 
But these he refused to accept. 

On the following morning Lancelot took his leave, 
saying that he must go in search of Lionel, who had 
vanished from his side during his sleep. But 
before going he commended all present to God's 
grace, and said to the king's daughter, 

" If you have need any time of my service I pray 
you let me know, and I shall not fail you, as I am 
a true knight/' 

And so Lancelot departed, having had strange 
adventures and won much renown since he had 
parted from his nephew Lionel. 



NOT far nor long had Lancelot ridden before he 
found himself in familiar scenes, and in a short 
time he beheld that same apple-tree under which 
he had lain asleep. 

" I shall take care never to sleep again beneath 


your shade," he said, grimly. "The fruit you 
bear is not wholesome for errant knights." 

He rode by it, but had not followed the highway 
far when he met a damsel riding on a white palfrey, 
who saluted him. He courteously returned her 
salute, and said, 

" Fair damsel, know you of any adventures that 
may be had in this land ? * 

" Sir knight," she replied, " if you crave adven- 
tures you will not need to go far to find one. But 
it is one it might be safest for you not to under- 

" Why should I not ? ' said Lancelot. " I came 
here seeking adventures, and am not the man to 
turn back from a shadow." 

" You seem to be a good knight," she replied, 
regarding him closely. " If you dare face a power- 
ful fighter, I can bring you where is the best and 
mightiest in this land. But first I would know 
what knight you are." 

" As for my name, you are welcome to it," he 
replied. " Men call me Lancelot du Lake." 

" This, then, is the adventure. Near by there 
dwells a knight who has never yet found his match, 
and who is ever ready for a joust. His name is Sir 
Turquine. As I am told, he has overcome and 
has in prison in his castle sixty-four knights of 
Arthur's court, whom he has met and vanquished 
in single combat. You shall fight with him if you 
will. And if you overcome him, then I shall beg 
for your aid against a false knight who daily dis- 
tresses me and other damsels. Have I your 
promise ? ' 


" There is nothing I would rather do/' said Lan- 
celot. " Bring me now where I may meet this 
Turquine. When I have ended with him I shall 
be at your service." 

" Come this way/' she replied, and led him to 
the ford and the tree where hung the basin. 

Lancelot waited here until his horse had drunk, 
and then he beat on the basin with the butt of his 
spear with such force that its bottom fell out, but 
no one answered his challenge. He knocked then 
loudly at the manor gates, but they remained 
closed. Finding no entrance, he rode for half an 
hour along the manor walls, looking heedfully for 
Sir Turquine, whom he fancied must be abroad. 
At the end of that time he saw a knight who drove 
a horse before him, and athwart that horse lay an 
armed knight, bound. 

As they drew near, Lancelot noticed something 
familiar in the aspect of the bound knight, and 
when they had come close he recognized him as 
Gaheris, the brother of Gawaine, and a Knight of 
the Eound Table. 

" That prisoner is a fellow of mine/' he said to 
the damsel. " I shall begin, I promise you, by 
God's help, with rescuing him; and unless his 
captor sit better than I in the saddle, I shall deliver 
all his prisoners, among whom, I am sure, are some 
of my near kindred." 

By this time Turquine was close at hand, and 
on seeing an armed knight thus confront him he 
drew up his horse and gripped his spear fiercely. 

" Fair sir," said Lancelot, " put down that 
wounded knight and let him rest a while, while 


you and I find out who is the better man. I am 
told you have done much wrong to Knights of 
the Round Table, and I am here to revenge them. 
Therefore, defend yourself." 

" If you be of the Round Table," said Turquine, 
" I defy you and all your fellowship." 

" That is easy to say," retorted Lancelot. " Now 
let me see what you are ready to do." 

Then, they put their spears in the rests, and rode 
together with the force of two ships meeting in 
mid-ocean, smiting each other so strongly in the 
midst of their shields that the backs of both horses 
broke beneath them. The knights, astonished at 
this result, leaped hastily to the ground to avoid 
being overthrown. 

Then, drawing their swords and bearing their 
shields in front, they came hotly together, striking 
with such force that shield and armor alike gave 
way beneath the mighty blows, and blood soon be- 
gan to flow freely from their wounds. Thus for 
two hours and more the deadly contest continued, 
the knights striking, parrying, advancing, and retir- 
ing with all the skill of perfect swordsmen. At the 
last they both paused through lack of breath, and 
stood leaning upon their swords, and facing each 
other grimly. 

" Hold thy hand a while, fellow," said Turquine, 
" and tell me what I shall ask thee." 

" Say on," rejoined Lancelot, briefly. 

" Thou art the strongest and best-breathed man 
that ever I met with, and art much like the knight 
that I hate most of all men. If vou are not he, 


then for the esteem I have for you I will release all 


my prisoners, and we shall be fellows together while 
we live. But first of all I would know your name." 

" You speak well/' said Lancelot. " But since 
you promise me your friendship, tell me what knight 
it is you hate so deeply ? ' 

"His name/' said Turquine, "is Lancelot du 
Lake. He slew my brother Carados at the dolorous 
tower, and I have vowed that, if I should meet him, 
one of us shall make an end of the other. Through 
hate of him I have slain a hundred knights, and 
maimed as many more, while of those I have thrown 
in prison, many are dead, and threescore and four 
yet live. If you will tell me your name, and it 
be not Lancelot, all these shall be delivered." 

" It stands, then/' said Lancelot, " that if I be 
one man I may have your peace and friendship, 
and if I be another man there will be mortal war 
between us. If you would know my name, it is 
Lancelot du Lake, son of King Ban of Benwick, 
and Knight of the Table Round. And now do 
your best, for I defy you." 

" Ah, Lancelot ! 7 said Turquine, " never was 
knight so welcome to me. This is the meeting I 
have long sought, and we shall never part till one 
of us be dead." 

Then they rushed together like two wild bulls, 
lashing at each other with shield and sword, and 
striking such fiery blows that pieces of steel flew 
from their armor of proof, and blood poured from 
many new wounds. 

Two hours longer the fight continued, Turquine 
giving Lancelot many wounds and receiving sting- 
ing blows in return, till at the end he drew back 


faint with loss of breath and of blood, and bore his 
shield low through weakness. This Lancelot 
quickly perceived, and leaped fiercely upon him, 
seizing him by the beaver of his helmet and drag- 
ging him down to his knees. Then he tore off his 
helm, and swinging in the air his fatal blade, smote 
off his head so that it leaped like a live thing upon 
the ground, while the body fell prostrate in death. 

" So much for Turquine," said Lancelot. " He 
will take prisoner no more Round Table knights. 
But by my faith, there are not many such men as 
he, and he and I might have faced the world. Now, 
damsel, I am ready to go with you where you will, 
but I have no horse." 

" Take that of this wounded knight ; and let him 
go into the manor and release the prisoners." 

" That is well advised," said Lancelot, who there- 
upon went to Gaheris and begged that he would 
lend him his horse. 

" Lend it ! ' cried Gaheris. " I will give it, and 
would give ten if I had them, for I owe my life 
and my horse both to you. You have slain in my 
sight the mightiest man and the best knight that I 
ever saw, except yourself. And, fair sir, I pray 
you tell me your name ? ' 

" My name is Lancelot du Lake. I owe you 
rescue for King Arthur's sake, and for that of 
Gawaine, your brother and my comrade. Within 
that manor you will find many Knights of the 
Eound Table, whose shields you may see on yonder 
tree. I pray you greet them all from me, and say 
I bid them take for their own such stuff as they 
find there. I must ride on with this damsel to 


keep my promise, but I hope to be back at the court 
by the feast of Pentecost. Bid Lionel and Hector 
await me there." 

This said, he mounted and rode on, while Gaheris 
went into the manor-house. Here he found a yeo- 
man porter, who accosted him surlily. Gaheris 
flung the dogged fellow to the floor, and took from 
him his keys. With these he opened the prison 
doors and released the captives, who thanked him 
warmly for their rescue, for they saw that he was 
wounded, and deemed that he had vanquished 

" It was not I," said Gaheris, " that slew your 
tyrant. You have Lancelot to thank for that. He 
greets you all, and asks Lionel and Hector to wait 
for him at the court." 

" That we shall not do/' said they. " While we 
live we shall seek him." 

" So shall I," said Kay, who was among the pris- 
oners, " as I am a true knight." 

Then the released knights sought their armor and 
horses, and as they did so a forester rode into the 
court, with four horses laden with fat venison. 

" Here is for us," said Kay. " We have not had 
such a repast as this promises for many a long day. 
That rogue Turquine owes us a dinner at least." 

Then the manor-kitchens were set in a blaze, and 
the venison was roasted, baked, and sodden, the 
half -starved knights enjoying such a hearty meal 
as they had long been without. Some of them 
afterwards stayed in the manor-house for the night, 
though in more agreeable quarters than they had 
of late occupied. But Lionel, Hector, and Kay rode 


in quest of Lancelot, resolved to find him if it 
were possible, and to lose no time in the search. 

As for the victorious knight, he had many strange 
adventures, of which we can tell only those of most 
interest. First of all, he performed the task which 
the damsel required of him, for he met and killed 
that false knight against whom she prayed for 

" You have done this day a double service to man- 
kind/' said the damsel, gratefully. " As Turquine 
destroyed knights, so did this villain, whose name 
was Peris de Forest Savage, destroy and distress 
ladies and gentlewomen, and he is well repaid for 
his villany." 

" Do you want any more service of me ? ' ' asked 

" Not at this time. But may heaven preserve 
you wherever you go, for you deserve the prayers 
of all who are in distress. But one thing, it seems 
to me, you lack: you are a wifeless knight. The 
world says that you will love no maiden, but that 
your heart is turned only to Queen Guenever, who 
has ordained bv enchantment that vou shall love 

*/ / 

none but her. This I hold to be a great pity, and 
many in the land are sorry to see so noble a knight 
so enchained." 

" I cannot stop people from thinking what they 
will," said Lancelot, " but as for marrying, I shall 
not soon consent to be a stay-at-home knight. 
And as for Guenever's enchantment, it is only that 
of beauty and womanly graciousness. What time 
may bring me I know not, but as yet it has not 
brought me a fancy for wedded life. I thank you 


for your good wishes, fair damsel, and courteously 
bid you farewell/' 

With these words Lancelot and she parted, she 
seeking her home, and the knight riding in quest 
of new adventures. For two days his journey con- 
tinued, through a country strange to him. On the 
morning of the third day he found himself beside 
a wide stream, which was crossed by a long bridge, 
beyond which rose the battlemented towers of a 
strong castle. 

Lancelot rode upon the bridge, but before he had 
reached its middle there started out a foul-faced 
churl, who smote his horse a hard blow on the nose, 
and asked him surlily why he dared cross that bridge 
without license. 

"Why should I not, if I wish?" asked the 
knight. " Who has the right to hinder ? * 

" I have," cried the churl. " You may choose 
what you will, but you shall not ride here," and he 
struck at him furiously with a great iron-shod club. 

At this affront Lancelot angrily drew his sword, 
and with one stroke warded off the blow, and cut 
the churFs head in twain. 

" So much for you, fool," he said. 

But when he reached the end of the bridge he 
found there a village, whose people cried out to 
him, " You have done a sorry deed for yourself, for 
you have slain the chief porter of our castle." 

Lancelot rode on, heedless of their cries, and forc- 
ing his great horse through the throng till he came 
to the castle walls. The gates of these stood open, 
and he rode in, where he saw a fair green court, 
and beyond it the stately walls and towers. At the 


windows were the faces of many people, who cried 
to him in dismay, 

" Fair knight, turn and fly. Death awaits you 

" Fly ! I have not learned how/' answered Lan- 
celot, as he sprang from his horse and tied him to 
a ring in the wall. " This court seems a fair place 
for knightly combat, and it fits better with my 
mood to fight than fly." 

Hardly had he spoken when from the castle doors 
came two strong giants, armed all but their heads, 
and bearing as weapons great iron clubs. They 
set upon Lancelot together, the foremost making 
a stroke that would have slain him had it reached 
him. But the knight warded it off with his shield, 
and agilely returned the blow with his sword, with 
so vigorous a stroke that he cleft the giant's head 
in twain. 

When his fellow saw this, he turned and ran in 
panic fear, but Lancelot furiously pursued him, 
and struck him so fierce a blow that the sword clove 
his great body asunder from shoulder to waist. 

" Is it not better to fight than to fly ? ' cried 
Lancelot to the glad faces which he now saw at the 
windows, and, leaving the dead giants crimsoning 
the green verdure, he strode into the castle hall, 
where there came before him threescore ladies, who 
fell on their knees and thanked God and him for 
their deliverance. 

" Blessed be the day thou wert born, sir knight," 
they said, " for many brave warriors have died in 
seeking to do what thou hast achieved this day. 
We are all of us gentlewomen born, and many of 


us have been prisoners here for seven years, work- 
ing in silk for these giants that we might earn our 
food. We pray you to tell us your name, that 
our friends may know who has delivered us, and 
remember you in their prayers." 

" Fair ladies," he said, " my name is Lancelot du 

" You may well be he," they replied. " For we 
know no other knight that could have faced those 
giants together, and slain them as you have done." 

" Say unto your friends," said Lancelot, " that 
I send them greeting, and that I shall expect good 
cheer from them if ever I should come into their 
manors. As for the treasure in this castle, I give 
it to you in payment for your captivity. For the 
castle itself, its lord, whom these giants have dis- 
possessed, may claim again his heritage." 

" The castle," they replied, " is named Tintagil. 
The duke who owned it was the husband of Queen 
Igraine, King Arthur's mother. But it has long 
been held by these miscreant giants." 

" Then," said Lancelot, " the castle belongs to 
the king, and shall be returned to him. And now 
farewell, and God be with you." 

So saying, he mounted his horse and rode away, 
followed by the thanks and prayers of the rescued 




LANCELOT rode onward day after day, passing 
through many strange and wild countries, and over 
many rivers, and finding but sorry cheer and ill 
lodging as he went. At length fortune brought him 
to a comfortable wavside mansion, where he was 


well received, and after a good supper was lodged 
in a chamber over the gateway. 

But he had not been long asleep when he was 
aroused by a furious knocking at the gate. Spring- 
ing from his bed, he looked from the window, and 
there by the moonlight saw one knight defending 
himself against three, who were pressing him 
closely. The knight fought bravely, but was in 
danger of being overpowered. 

" Those are not fair odds," said Lancelot. " I 
must to the rescue, and the more so as I see that it 
is my old friend, Sir Kay, who is being so roughly 

Then he hastily put on his armor, and by aid of 
a sheet lowered himself from a window to the 

" Turn this way," he cried to the assailants, 
" and leave that knight. Three to one is not 
knightly odds." 

At these words they turned upon him, all three 
striking at him together, and forcing him to defend 
himself. Kay would have come to his aid, but he 
cried out, 


'I will have none of your help. Stand off and 
leave me alone, or fight them yourself." 

At this Kay stood aside, and Lancelot attacked 
the three miscreants so fiercely that within six 
strokes he felled them all to the ground. They 
now begged for mercy, yielding to him as a man 
of matchless skill. 

"I will not take your yielding," he replied. 
" Yield to Sir Kay, here, whom you foully over- 

" You ask too much of us, fair sir. It is not 
just that we should yield to him whom we would 
have vanquished but for you." 

" Think well," returned Lancelot. " You shall 
yield or die. The choice is yours/' 

" That is a choice with but one side. Yield we 
must, if death is the alternative." 


Then I bid you on Whitsunday next, to present 
yourselves to Queen Guenever at King Arthur's 
court, and put yourselves in her grace and mercy, 
saying that Sir Kay sent you there as prisoners." 

This they took oath to do, each knight swearing 
upon his sword; whereupon Lancelot suffered them 
to depart. 

He now knocked at the gate with the pommel 
of his sword, till his host came, who started with 
surprise on seeing him there. 

" I thought you were safe a-bed," he said. 

" So I was. But I sprang from the window to 
help an old fellow of mine." 

When they came to the light, Kay recognized 
Lancelot, and fell on his knees to thank him for 
saving his life. 


" What I have done is nothing but what duty 
and good fellowship demanded/' said Lancelot. 
" Are you hungry ? ' 

" Half starved/' answered Kay. 

" Mayhap our good host can find you f ood." 

Meat was thereupon brought, of which Kay eat 
heartily, after which he and Lancelot sought their 
beds in the gate chamber. 

But in the morning Lancelot rose while Kay was 
still asleep, and took his guest's armor and shield, 
leaving his own. Then he proceeded to the stable, 
mounted his horse, and rode away. Shortly after- 
wards Kay awoke, and quickly perceived what his 
comrade had done. 

" Good/' he said, with a laugh. " Lancelot is 
after some sport. I fancy that more than one 
knight will get more than he bargains for if he 
thinks he has me to deal with. As for me, with 
Lancelot's armor and shield, I shall be left to ride 
in peace, for few, I fancy, will trouble me." 

Kay thereupon put on Lancelot's armor, and, 
thanking his host, rode away. Meanwhile Lancelot 
had ridden on till he found himself in a low country 
full of meadows and rivers. Here he passed a 
bridge at whose end were three pavilions of silk 
and sendal, and at the door of each a white shield 
on the truncheon of a spear, while three squires 
stood at the pavilion doors. Lancelot rode leisurely 
by, without a word and hardly a look. 

When he had passed, the knights looked after 
him, saying to one another, " That is the proud 
Kay. He deems no knight so good as he, though 
it has often been proved otherwise." 




" I shall ride after him/' said one. " We shall 
see if his pride does not have a fall. Watch me, 
comrades, if you would see some sport." 

He sped but poorly, as it proved, for within a 
short time he was hurled grovelling to the earth. 
Then the two others rode in succession against 
the disguised knight, and both met with the same 
sorry fate. 

You are not Kay, the seneschal/' they cried. 

He never struck such blows. Tell us your name 
and we will yield." 

" You shall yield, whether you will or not/' he 
replied. " Look that you be at court by Whit- 
sunday, and yield yourselves to Queen Guenever, 
saying to her that Sir Kay sent you thither as 

This they swore to do, in dread of worse handling, 
and Lancelot rode on, leaving them to help them- 
selves as best they might. Not far had he gone 
when he entered a forest, and in an open glade of 
this saw four knights resting under an oak. He 
knew them at sight to be from Arthur's court, two 
of them being Gawaine and Uwaine ; the other two 
Hector de Maris, and Sagramour le Desirous. 

They, as the three previous knights had done, 
mistook Lancelot for Kay, and Sagramour rode 
after him, vowing that he would try what skill the 
seneschal had. He quickly found, for horse and 
man together were hurled to the ground, while 
Lancelot sat unmoved in his saddle. 

" I would have sworn that Kay could not give 
such a buffet as that/' said Hector. " Let us see 
what I can do with him." 


His luck was even worse, for lie went to the earth 
with a spear-hole in his shoulder, his shield and 
armor being pierced. 

" BY mv faith ! " said "Twaine. " that knisrht is 


a bigger and stronger man than Kay. He must have 
slain the seneschal and taken his armor. He has 
proved himself a hard man to match, but if Kay 
has been slain it is our duty to revenge him.' 5 

He thereupon rode against Lancelot, but with 
as ill fortune as his fellows, for he was flung so 
violentlv to the earth that he lav lorn? out of his 

> ^^ 


e: Whoever he be," cried Gawaine, ei he has over- 
turned my comrades, and I must encounter him. 
Defend yourself, sir knight." 

Then the two knights rode fiercelv together, each 

t^ .. *_ 

striking the other in the midst of the shield. But 
Gawaine's spear broke, while that of Lancelot held 
good, and struck so strong a blow that the horse was 
overturned. Gawaine barely escaping being crushed 
beneath him. 

This done, Lancelot rode slowlv on. smiling 1 to 

mt _ 

himself, and saying, " God give joy to the man 
that made this spear, for a better no knight ever 

" What sav you of this knight, who with one 

. ^ 

spear has felled us all ? " said Gawaine. " To my 
thinking, it is Lancelot or the devil. He rides like 

" We shall find out in good time," said the others : 
"but he has left us sore bodies and sick hearts, and 
our poor horses are the worse for the trial.' 7 

Lancelot rode on through the forest, thinking 


quietly to himself of the surprise he had given to 
his late assailants, and of the sport it would there- 
after make in the court. But new and stranger 
adventures awaited him, for he was now coming 
into a land of enchantment, where more than mere 
strength would be needed. 

What he saw, after he had ridden long and far, 
was a black brachet, which was coursing as if in 
the track of a hurt deer; but he quickly perceived 
that the dog was upon a trail of fresh blood. He 
followed the brachet, which looked behind as it ran, 
as if with desire to lead him on. In time he saw 
before him an old manor, over whose bridge ran 
the dog. "When Lancelot had ridden over the 
bridge, that shook beneath his hoofs as if it was 
ready to fall, he came into a great hall, where lay 
a dead knight whose wounds the dog was licking. 
As he stood there a lady rushed weeping from 
a chamber, and wrung her hands in grief as she 
accused him of having slain her lord. 

" Madam, it was not I," said Lancelot. " I 
never saw him till his dog led me here, and I am 
sorry enough for your misfortune." 

" I should have known it could not be you," she 
said. " I was led by my grief to speak wildly. For 
he that killed my husband is sorely wounded him- 
self, and I can promise him this, that he will never 
recover. I have wrought him a charm that no 
leech's skill can overcome." 

" What was your husband's name ? ' asked Lan- 

"Sir Gilbert," she replied. "As for him that 
slew him, I know not his name." 


" God send you better comfort," said Lancelot. 
" I am sorry for your misfortune." 

Then he rode again into the forest, and in a 
short space met a damsel who knew him well, for 
his visor was up and his face shown. 

" You are well found, my lord Lancelot," she 
said. " I beg you of your knighthood to help my 
brother, who lies near by sorely wounded, and never 
stops bleeding. He fought to-day with Sir Gilbert 
and slew him in fair battle, and now is dying 
through foul enchantment. Not far from here 
dwells a lady sorceress, who has wrought this harm, 
and who told me to-day that my brother's wounds 
would never heal till I could find a knight who 
would go into the Chapel Perilous, and bring thence 
the sword of the slain knight and a piece of the 
bloody cloth that he is wrapped in. My brother 
will die unless his wounds are touched with that 
sword and that cloth, for nothing else on earth will 
stop their bleeding." 

" This is a marvellous tale," said Lancelot. 
" Who is your brother ? ' 

" His name is Meliot de Logres." 

" Then he is one of my fellows of the Round 
Table, and I will do all I can to help him. What 
and where the Chapel Perilous is I know not, but 
I do not fear its perils." 

" This highway will bring you to it, and at no 
great distance," she replied. " I shall here await 
your return. I know no knight but you who can 
achieve this task, and truly you will find it no light 
one, for you have enchantment and sorcery to 


Little was Lancelot downcast by these words, 
and he rode on to the Chapel Perilous with no dread 
in his bold heart. Beaching the building indicated, 
he alighted and tied his horse beside the gate. Then 
he entered the church-yard, and there he saw on the 
chapel front many shields hung upside down, some 
of them being well known to him. 

But his eyes were quickly drawn from these, for 
suddenly there appeared before him thirty gigantic 
knights, all clad in jet-black armor, and every man 
of them a foot higher than common men. All 
bore swords and shields, and as they stood there 
they grinned and gnashed at him with baleful 

Dread came into Lancelot's heart on seeing this 
frightful throng of black warriors, with their 
demon-like countenances. But commending his 
soul to God, he took his sword in hand and ad- 
vanced resolutely upon them. Then, to his sur- 
prise and gladness, when they saw this bold advance 
they scattered right and left before him, like dead 
leaves before the wind, and gave him open passage 
to the chapel, which he entered without further 

Here was no light but that of a dim lamp, and 
on a bier in the centre of the aisle there lay a 
corpse that was covered with a cloth of silk. On 
coming up, Lancelot gazed upon the face and saw 
that it was that of Sir Gilbert, whose dead body 
he had seen but lately in the hall of the manor- 

Then he bent over the corpse and cut away a 
piece of the silk, and as he did so he felt the floor 


to sink and rock beneath him as if the earth had 
quaked. This gave him a thrill of dread, and 
seizing the sword that lay by the side of the corpse 
he hastened out of the chapel. 

When he reached the chapel-yard the black 
knights thronged again in his pathway, and cried 
to him with voices of thunder, 

" Knight, yield us that sword, or you shall die ! ' 

" Whether I live or die, it will need more than 
loud words to force me to yield it. You may 
fight for it if you will. And I warn you, you will 
need to fight hard." 

Then, as before, they scattered before his bold 
advance, and left him free passage. Lancelot strode 
resolutely on through the chapel-yard, but in the 
highway beyond he met a fair damsel, who said to 

" Sir Lancelot, you know not what risk you run. 
Leave that sword, or you will die for it." 

" I got it not so easy that I should leave it for 
a threat/ 7 he replied. 

" You are wise," she answered. " I did but test 
your judgment. If you had yielded the sword 
you would never have looked on Queen Guenever 

" Then I would have been a fool indeed to leave 

" Now, gentle knight, I have but one request to 
make of you ere you depart. That is, that you 
kiss me." 

"Nay," said Lancelot, "that God forbid. I 
save my kisses till my love is given." 

" Then are you beyond my power," she cried, 


with a groan of pain. " Had you kissed me your 
life would have ended; but now I have lost my 
labor, for it was for you and Gawaine that I pre- 
pared this chapel with its enchantments. Gawaine 
was once in my power, and at that time he fought 
with Sir Gilbert and struck off his left hand. As 
for you, I have loved you these seven years. But 
I know that none but Guenever will ever have 
your love, and so, as I could not have you alive, 
I wished to have you dead. If you had yielded 
to my wiles I should have embalmed and preserved 
your body, and kissed it daily in spite of Guenever, 
or any woman living. Now farewell, Lancelot; I 
shall never look upon your face again." 

" I pray to Heaven you shall not. And may 
God preserve me from your vile craft." 

Mounting his horse, Lancelot departed. Of the 
lady, we are told by the chronicles that she died 
within a fortnight of pure sorrow, and that she was 
a sorceress of high renown. 

Lancelot rode on till he met the sister of the 
wounded knight, who clapped her hands and wept 
for joy on seeing him safely returned. Then she 
led him to a castle near by, where Sir Meliot lay. 
Lancelot knew him at sight, though he was pale 
as death from loss of blood. 

On seeing Lancelot, he fell on his knees before 
him, crying, in tones of hope, 

" Oh, my lord Lancelot, help me, for you alone 
can ! " 

" I can and will," rejoined the knight, and, as he 
had been advised, he touched his wounds with 
the sword and rubbed them with the bloody cloth 
he had won. 


No sooner was this done, than Meliot sprang to 
his feet a whole and sound man, while his heart 
throbbed with joy and gratefulness. And he and 
his sister entertained their noble guest with the 
best the castle afforded,, doing all in their power 
to show their gratitude. 



AFTER his departure from the castle of Sir Meliot, 
Lancelot rode through many strange regions, over 
marshes and highlands, through valleys and forests, 
and at length found himself in front of a handsome 
castle. This he passed, and as he did so thought 
he heard two bells ring. 

Then he saw a falcon fly over his head towards 
a high elm, with long cords hanging from her feet, 
and as she perched in the elm these became coiled 
round a bough, so that when she tried to fly again 
the lines held her and she hung downward by the 

Then there came a lady running from the castle, 
who cried, as she approached, 

" Oh, Lancelot, Lancelot, as thou art the flower 
of knights, help me to get my hawk, lest my lord 
destroy me ! The hawk escaped me, and if my 
husband finds it gone, he is so hasty that I fear he 
will kill me." 


" What is his name ? ' asked Lancelot. 

" His name is Phelot. He is a knight of the 
king of Northgalis." 

" Well, fair lady, since you know my name so 
well, and ask me on my knighthood to help you, 
I will try to get your hawk. But I am a poor 
climber, and the tree is high, with few boughs to 
help me." 

" I trust you may," she replied, " for my life 
depends on your success." 

Then Lancelot alighted and tied his horse to the 
tree, and begged the lady to help him remove his 
armor. When he was fully unarmed he climbed 
with much difficulty into the tree, and at length 
succeeded in reaching the hawk. He now tied the 
lines to a rotten branch and threw it and the bird 
down to the lady. 

But as she picked it up with a show of joy, there 
suddenly came from a grove an armed knight, who 
rode rapidly up, with his drawn sword in his hand. 

" Now, Lancelot du Lake," he cried, " I have 
you as I wanted you. Your day has come." 

And he stood by the trunk of the tree, ready to 
slay him when he should descend. 

" What treason is this ? ' demanded Lancelot. 
" False woman, why have you led me into this ? ' 

" She did as I bade her," said Phelot. I hate 
you, Lancelot, and have laid this trap for you. 
You have fought your last fight, my bold cham- 
pion, for you come out of that tree but to your 

" That would be a shameful deed," cried Lan- 
celot, " for you, an armed knight, to slay a de- 
fenceless man through treachery." 




Help yourself the best you can," said Phelot; 
you get no grace from me." 

You will be shamed all your life by so base an 
act," cried Lancelot. " If you will do no more, at 
least hang my sword upon a bough where I may 
get it, and then you may do your best to slay me." 

" No, no," said Phelot, " I know you too well 
for that. You get no weapon if I can hinder you." 

Lancelot was now in the most desperate strait 
he was likely ever to endure. He could not stay 
forever in the tree, and if he should attempt to 
descend there stood that armed villain awaiting 
him with ready sword. What to do he knew not, 
but his eyes glanced warily round, till he saw just 
above him a big leafless branch, which he broke 
off close to the body of the tree. Thus armed, he 
climbed down to a lower bough, and looked down 
to note the position of the knight and his own 

A quick look told him that there was still a 
chance for life, and with a nimble leap he sprang 
to the ground on the other side of his horse from 
the knight. 

Phelot at once struck at him savagely with his 
sword, thinking to kill him with the blow; but 
Lancelot parried it with his heavy club, and in 
return dealt his antagonist so fierce a blow on the 
head as to hurl him from his horse to the ground. 
Then wrenching the sword from his hand, he struck 
off his villanous head. 

" Alas ! ' cried the lady, " you have slain my 
husband ! ' 

" If I should slay you with him it would be but 


justice/' said Lancelot, " for you would have killed 
me through falsehood and treachery, and you have 
but your deserts." 

Then the lady swooned away as if she would 
die, but Lancelot, seeing that the knight's castle 
was so nigh, hastened to resume his armor, for he 
knew not what other treachery might await him. 
Then, leaving the lady still in a swoon, he mounted 
and rode away, thanking God that he had come so 
well through that deadlv peril. 

As to Lancelot's other adventures at that time, 
they were of no great moment. The chronicles 
tell that he saw a knight chasing a lady with intent 
to kill her, and that he rescued her. Afterwards 
the knight, who was her husband and mad with 
jealousy, struck off her head in Lancelot's presence. 

Then when Lancelot would have slain him, he 
grovelled in the dirt and begged for mercy so 
piteously, that the knight at length granted him his 
shameful life, but made him swear that he would 
bear the dead body on his back to Queen Guenever, 
and tell her of his deed. 

This he accomplished, and was ordered by the 
queen, as a fitting penance, to bear the body of 
his wife to the Pope of Rome and there beg abso- 
lution, and never to sleep at night but with the 
dead body in the bed with him. All this the knight 
did, and the body was buried in Rome by the Pope's 
command. Afterwards Pedivere, the knight, re- 
pented so deeply of his vile deed that he became a 
hermit, and was known as a man of holy life. 

Two days before the feast of Pentecost, Lancelot 
returned to Camelot from his long journey and his 



many adventures. And there was much laughter 
in the court when the knights whom he had smitten 
down saw him in Kay's armor, and knew who their 
antagonist had hcen. 

" By my faith," said Kay, " I never rode in such 
peace as I have done in Lancelot's armor, for I have 
not found a man willing to fight with me, and have 
ruled lord of the land." 

Then the various knights whom Lancelot had 
bidden to seek the court came in, one by one, and 
all were glad to learn that it was by no common man 
that they had been overcome. Among them came 
Sir Belleus, whom Lancelot had wounded at the 
pavilion, and who at his request was made a Knight 
of the Round Table, and Sir Meliot dc Logres, whom 
he had rescued from the enchantment of the Chapel 
Perilous. Also the adventure of the four queens 
was told, and how Lancelot had been delivered from 
the power of the sorceresses, and had won the 
tournament for King Bagdemagus. 

And so at that time Lancelot had the greatest 
name of any knight in the world, and was the most 
honored, by high and low alike, of all living 

























KING ARTHUR had, early in his reign, established 
the custom that at the feast of Pentecost he would 
never dine until he had seen or heard of some mar- 
vellous event. Through that custom many strange 
adventures were brought to his notice. It hap- 
pened on one day of Pentecost that the king held 
his Round Table at a castle called Kinkenadon, on 
the borders of Wales. On that day, a little before 
noon, as Gawaine looked from a window, he saw 
three men on horseback and a dwarf on foot 
approaching the castle. When they came near the 
men alighted, and, leaving their horses in care of 
the dwarf, they walked towards the castle-gate. 
One of these men was very tall, being a foot and a 
half higher than his companions. 

On seeing this, Gawaine went to the king and 

" Sire, I deem you can now safely go to your 
dinner, for I fancy we have an adventure at hand." 

The king thereupon went to the table with his 
knights and the kings who were guests at his court. 
They were but well seated when there came into the 



hall two men, richly attired, upon whose shoulders 
leaned the fairest and handsomest young man that 
any there had ever seen. In body he was large 
and tall, with broad shoulders and sturdy limbs, yet 
he moved as if he could not bear himself erect, but 
needed support from his comrades' shoulders. 

When Arthur saw this youth he bade those around 
him to make room, and the stranger with his com- 
panions walked up to the high dais without 

Then he drew himself up straight and stood erect 
before the king. 

" King Arthur," he said, " may God bless you 
and your fellowship, and, above all, the fellowship 
of the Round Table. I am come hither to beg of 
you three gifts, promising that they shall not be 
unreasonable, and that you can honorably grant 
them without hurt or loss to yourself. The first 
I shall ask now, and the other two this day twelve- 

" Ask what you will," said Arthur. " You shall 
have your gift, if it be so easy to grant." 

" This is my first petition, that you furnish me 
meat and drink sufficient for this year, and until 
the time has come to ask for my other gifts." 

" My fair son," said Arthur, " I counsel you to 
ask more than this. If my judgment fail not, you 
are of good birth and fit for noble deeds." 

" However that mav be, I have asked all that I 


now desire." 

" Well, well, you shall have meat and drink 
enough. I have never denied that to friend or 
foe. But what is your name?" 


" Great sir, that I cannot tell you." 

" There is a mystery here. A youth of so hand- 
some face and vigorous form as you must be of 
noble parentage. But if you desire secrecy, I shall 
not press you." 

Then Arthur bade Kay to take charge of the 
youth and see that he had the best fare of the 
castle, and to find out if he was a lord's son, if 

" A churl's son, I should say," answered Kay, 
scornfully, " and not worth the cost of his meals. 

/ * 

Had he been of gentle birth he would have asked 
for horse and armor; but he demands that which 
fits his base-born nature. Since he has no name, 
I shall give him one. Let him be called Beaumains, 
or Fair Hands. I shall keep him in the kitchen, 
where he can have fat broth every day, so that at 
the year's end he will be fat as a swollen hog." 

Then the two men departed and left the youth 
with Kay, who continued to scorn and mock him. 

Gawaine and Lancelot were angry at this, and 
bade Kay to cease his mockery, saying that they 
were sure the youth would prove of merit. 

" Never will he," said Kay. " He has asked as 
his nature bade him." 

" Beware," said Lancelot. " This is not' the first 
youth you have given a name in mockery, which 
turned on yourself at last." 

" I do not fear that of this fellow. I wager that 
he has been brought up in some abbey, and came 
hither because good eating failed him there." 

Kav then bade him get a place anr sit down to 


his meal, and Beaumains sought a place at the 
hall-door among boys and menials. 


Gawaine and Lancelot thereupon asked him to 
come to their chambers, where he should be well 
fed and lodged; but he refused, saying that he 
would do only as Kay commanded, since the king 
had so bidden. 

It thus came about that Beaumains ate in the 
kitchen among the menials, and slept in sorry 
quarters. And during the whole year he was always 
meek and mild, and gave no cause for displeasure 
to man or child. 

But whenever there was jousting of knights he 
was always present to see, and seemed in this sport 
to take great delight. And Gawaine and Lancelot, 
who felt sure that the youth but bided his time, 
gave him clothes and what money he needed. Also, 
wherever there were sports of skill or strength he 
was sure to be on hand, and in throwing the bar 
or stone he surpassed all contestants by two yards. 

" How like you my boy of the kitchen ? 9 Kay 
would say, on seeing these feats. " Fat broth is 
good for the muscles/' 

And so the year passed on till the festival of 
Whitsuntide came again. The court was now at 
Carlion, where royal feasts were held. But the 
king, as was his custom, refused to eat until he 
should hear of some strange adventure. 

While he thus waited a damsel came into the 
hall and saluted the king, and begged aid and succor 
of him. 

" For whom ? ' asked Arthur. " Of what do you 
complain ? ' 

" Sire," she replied, " I serve a lady of great 
worth and merit, who is besieged in her castle by 


a tyrant, and dares not leave her gates for fear of 
him. I pray you send with me some knight to 
succor her." 

" Who is your lady, and where does she dwell ? 
And what is the name of the man who besieges 
her ? " 

"Her name I must not now tell. I shall only 
say that she has wide lands and is a noble lady. 
As for the tyrant that distresses her, he is called 
the Red Knight of the Red Lawns." 

" I know him not," said the king. 

" I know him well," said Gawaine. " Men say 
he has seven men's strength. I escaped him once 
barely with life." 

" Fair damsel," said the king, " there are knights 
here who would do their utmost to rescue your lady. 
But if } T OU will not tell me her name nor where 
she lives, none of them shall go with my consent." 

" Then I must seek further," said the damsel, 
" for that I am forbidden to tell." 

At this moment Beaumains came to the king, and 

" Royal sir, I have been twelve months in your 
kitchen, and have had all you promised me; now 
I desire to ask for my other two gifts." 

"Ask, if you will. I shall keep to my word." 

" This, then, is what I request. First, that you 
send me with the damsel, for this adventure belongs 
to me." 

" You shall have it," said the king. 

" My third request is that you shall bid Lancelot 
du Lake make me a knight, for he is the only man in 
your court from whom I will take that honor. 


When I am gone let him ride after me, and dub me 
knight when I require it of him." 

" I grant your wish/' said the king. " All shall 
be done as you desire." 

" Fie on you all ! ' cried the damsel. " I came 
here for a knight, and you offer me a kitchen scul- 
lion. Is this King Arthur's way of rescuing a 
lady in distress ? If so, I want none of it, and will 
seek my knight elsewhere." 

She left the court, red with anger, mounted her 
horse, and rode away. 

She had hardly gone when a page of the court 
came to Beaumains and told him that his dwarf 
was without, with a noble horse and a rich suit of 
armor, and all other necessaries of the best. 

At this all the court marvelled, for they could 
not imagine who had sent all this rich gear to a 
kitchen menial. But when Beaumains was armed, 
there were none in the court who presented a 
more manly aspect than he. He took courteous 
leave of the king, and of Gawaine and Lancelot, 
praying the latter that he would soon ride after 
him. This done, he mounted his horse and pursued 
the damsel. 

But those who observed him noticed that, while 
he was well horsed and had trappings of cloth of 
gold, he bore neither shield nor spear. Among 
those who watched him was Kay, who said, 

" Yonder goes my kitchen drudge, as fine a knight 
as the best of us, if a brave show were all that a 
knight needed. I have a mind to ride after him, 
to let him know that I am still his superior." 

" You had better let him alone," said Gawaine. 


" You may find more than you bargain for." 

But Kay armed himself and rode after Beau- 
mains, whom he overtook just as he came up with 
the damsel. 

" Hold there, Beaumains," he cried, in mockery. 
" Do you not know me ? ' 

" Yes," answered the young man. " I know you 
for an ungentle knight of the court, who has put 
much despite upon me. It is my turn to repay you 
for your insults; so, sirrah, defend yourself." 

Kay thereupon put his spear in rest and rode 
upon Beaumains, who awaited him sword in hand. 
When they came together, Beaumains, with a skil- 
ful parry, turned aside the spear, and then with a 
vigorous thrust wounded Kay in the side, so that he 
fell from his horse like a dead man. This done, 
he dismounted and took Kay's shield and spear, 
and bade his dwarf take his horse. 

All this was observed by the damsel, and also 
by Lancelot, who had followed closely upon the 
track of the seneschal. 

" Now, Sir Lancelot, I am ready to accept your 
offer to knight me," said Beaumains, " but, first, I 
would prove myself worthy of the honor, and so 
will joust with you, if you consent." 
. " That I shall certainly not decline," said Lan- 
celot, counting upon an easy victory. 

But when the knight and the youth rode against 
each other both were hurled from their horses to the 
earth, and sorely bruised. But Beaumains was 
entangled in his harness, and Lancelot helped him 
from his horse. 

Then Beaumains flung aside his shield and prof- 


fered to fight Lancelot on foot, to which the latter 
consented. For an hour they fought, Beaumains 
showing such strength that Lancelot marvelled at 
it, and esteemed him more a giant than a knight. 
He began, indeed, to fear that he might be van- 
quished in the end, and at length cried out, 

" Beaumains, you fight too hard, considering that 
there is no quarrel between us. I fancy you need 
no further proof/' 

" That is true enough, my lord," said Beaumains. 
" But it did me good to feel your might. As for 
my own strength, I hardly know it yet." 

" It is as much as I want to deal with," said 
Lancelot. " I had to do my best to save my honor." 

" Then you think I may prove myself a worthy 
knight ? " 

" I warrant you that, if you do as well as you 
have done to-day." 

" I pray you, then, to invest me with the order 
of knighthood." 

" That shall I willingly do. But you must first 
tell me your name, and that of your father." 

" You will keep my secret ? ' 

" I promise you that on my faith, until you are 
ready to reveal it yourself." 

"Then, sir, my name is Gareth, and I am Ga- 
waine's brother, though he knows it not. I was 
but a child when he became a knight, but King 
Lot was my father." 

" I am very glad to hear that," said Lancelot. 
" I knew you were of gentle blood, and came to 
court for something else than meat and drink." 

Then Gareth kneeled before Lancelot, who made 


him a knight, and bade him be a good and worthy 
one, and to honor his birth by his deeds. 

Lancelot then left him and returned to Kay, who 
lay half dead in the road. He had him borne back 
to the court, but his wound proved long in healing, 
and he found himself the scorn of the court for his 
discourteous treatment of the youth who had been 
put in his care. 



WHEN Beaumains overtook the damsel, he re- 
ceived from her but a sorry greeting. 

" How dare you follow me ? ' she said. " You 
smell too much of the kitchen for my liking. 
Your clothes are foul with grease and tallow, and 
I marvel much that King Arthur made a knight of 
such a sorry rogue. As for yonder knight whom 
you wounded, there is no credit in that, for it was 
done by treachery and cowardice, not by skill and 
valor. I know well why Kay named you Beau- 
mains, for you are but a lubber and turner of spits, 
and a washer of soiled dishes/' 

" Say what you will, damsel/' answered Beau- 
mains, " you shall not drive me away. King 
Arthur chose me to achieve your adventure, and I 
shall perform it or die." 

" Fie on you, kitchen knave ! you would not dare, 


for all the broth you ever supped, to look the red 
knight in the face." 

" Would I not ? That is to be seen." 

As they thus angrily debated, there came to them 
a man flying at full speed. 

" Help me, sir knight ! " he cried. " Six thieves 
have taken my lord and bound him, and I fear 
they will slay him if he be not rescued." 

" Lead me to him/' said Beaumains. 

He followed the man to a neighboring glade, 
where he saw a knight bound and prostrate, sur- 
rounded by six sorry-looking villains. At sight 
of this the heart of Beaumains leaped with anger. 
With a ringing battle-cry he rushed upon the knaves, 
and with three vigorous strokes laid three of them 
dead upon the earth. The others fled, but he fol- 
lowed at full speed, and quickly overtook them. 
Then they turned and assailed him fiercely, but 
after a short fight he slew them all. He then rode 
back to the knight, whom his man had unbound. 

The rescued knight thanked him warmly, and 
begged him to ride with him to his castle, where 
he would reward him for his great service. But 
Beaumains answered that he was upon a quest which 
could not be left, and as for reward he would leave 
that to God. 

Then he turned and rode back to th3 damsel, 
who greeted him with the same contempt as before, 
bidding him ride farther from her, as she could not 
bear the smell of the kitchen. 

" Do you fancy that I esteem you any the nobler 
for having killed a few churls? You shall see a 
sight yet, sir knave, that will make you turn your 
back, and that quickly." 


Not much farther had they ridden when they 
were overtaken by the rescued knight, who begged 
them, as it was near night, and his castle close at 
hand, to spend the night there. The damsel agreed 
to this, and they rode together to the castle, where 
they were well entertained. 

But at supper the knight set Beaumains before 
the damsel. 

" Fie, fie ! sir knight," she exclaimed. " This is 
discourteous, to seat a kitchen page before a lady 
of high birth. This fellow is more used to carve 
swine than to sit at lords' tables." 

To this Beaumains made no answer, but the 
knight was ashamed, and withdrew with his guest 
to a side table, leaving her to the honor of the high 
table alone. When morning came they thanked 
the knight for their entertainment, and rode 
refreshed away. 

Other adventures were ready for Beaumains 
before they had ridden far, for they soon found 
themselves at the side of a river that had but a 
single ford, and on the opposite side stood two 
knights, ready to dispute the passage with any who 
should attempt it. 

" What say you to this ? 7 asked the damsel. 
" Will you face yonder knights, or turn back ? " 

" I shall not turn ; nor would I, if there were 
six more of them. You shall see that I can deal 
with knights as well as knaves." 

Then he rode into the water, in the midst of 
which he met one of the knights, their spears break- 
ing as they came fiercely together. They then drew 
their swords and began a fierce fight in the centre 


of the ford. But at last Beaumains dealt his oppo- 
nent a blow on the helm that stunned him, and 
hurled him from his horse into the water, w r here 
he was quickly drowned. 

Beaumains now spurred forward to the land, 
w r here the other knight rushed upon him as he 
touched shore, breaking his spear, but not shaking 
the young champion in his seat. Then they went 
at it with sword and shield, and with the same 
fortune as before, for Beaumains quickly cleaved 
the helmet and brain of his opponent, and left him 
dead on the ground. 

He now turned and called proudly to the damsel, 
bidding her to ride forward, as he had cleared the 
ford for her passage. 

" Alas ! } she cried, " that a kitchen page should 
have the fortune to kill two valiant knights. You 
fancy you have done a doughty deed, but I deny 
it. The first knight was drowned through his horse 
stumbling, and the other one you struck a foul blow 
from behind. Never brag of this, for I can attest 
it was not honestly done." 

" You may say what you will," rejoined Beau- 
mains. " Whoever seeks to hinder me shall make 
way or kill me, for nothing less than death shall 
stop me on my quest to aid your lady." 

" You can boast loudly before a woman. Wait 
till you meet the knights I take you to, and you 
will be taught another lesson." 

" Fair damsel, if you will but give me courteous 
language, I shall ask no more. As for the knights 
you speak of, let come what will come." 

" I say this for your own good ; for if you con- 


tinue to follow me you will be slain. What you 
have done is by misadventure, not by prowess. If 
you are wise, vou will turn back with what little 

/ v 

honor you may claim." 

" Say what you choose, damsel, but wherever you 
go there go I, and it will take more than insulting 
words to turn me back." 

So they rode on till evening, she continuing to 
chide and berate him, and bid him leave her, and 
he answering meekly, but with no abatement of his 

Finally a strange sight came to them. For be- 
fore them they saw a black lawn, in whose midst 
grew a black hawthorn. On one side of this hung 
a black banner, and on the other a black shield, 
while near by stood a black spear of great size, and 
a massive black horse covered with silk. Near by 
was a knight armed in black armor, who was known 
as the Knight of the Black Lawn. 

The damsel, on seeing this knight, bade Beau- 
mains flee down the valley, telling him that he 
might still escape, for the knight's horse was not 

" Gramercy," said Beaumains, " will you always 
take me for a coward? I fly not from one man, 
though he be as black as ten ravens." 

The black knight, seeing them approach, thus 
addressed the damsel, 

" So, my lady, you are here again ! Have you 
brought this knight from King Arthur's court to 
be your champion ? ' 

" Hardly so, fair sir. This is but a kitchen 
knave, who was fed in Arthur's court through 


charity, and has followed me as a cur follows his 

"Why comes he then in knightly guise? And 
what do you in such foul company ? ' 

' I cannot get rid of him, sir. He rides with me 
in my despite. I bring him here that you may 
rid me of the unhappy knave. Through mishap 
and treachery he killed two knights at the river 
ford, and did other deeds that might have been of 
worth were they fairly done. Yet he is but a sorry 

" I am surprised," said the black knight, " that 
any man of worth will fight with him." 

" They knew him not," she answered, " and fancy 
him of some credit from his riding with me, and 
from his brave show of armor." 

"That may be," said the black knight. "Yet, 
knave or not, he looks like a strong fellow. This 
much I shall do to relieve you of him. I shall put 
him on foot, and take from him his horse and armor. 
It would be a shame to do him more harm." 

Beaumains had heard all this, biting his lips in 
anger. He now scornfully replied, 

" Sir knight, you are liberal in disposing of my 
horse and armor, but beware you do not pay a fair 
price for them. Whether you like it or not, this 
lawn I shall pass, and you will get no horse or armor 
of mine till you win them in open fight. Let me 
see if you can do it." 

" Say you so ? You shall yield me this lady, or 
pay dearly for it ; for it does not beseem a kitchen 
page to ride with a lady of high degree." 

" If you want her, you must win her," said Beau- 


mains, " and much comfort may you get from her 
tongue. As for me, I am a gentleman born, and 
of higher birth than you; and will prove this on 
your body if you deny it." 

Then in hot anger they rode apart, and came 
together with a sound of thunder. The spear of the 
black knight broke, but Beaumains thrust him 
through the side, the spear breaking in his body, 
and leaving the truncheon in his flesh. Yet, despite 
his wound, he drew his sword and struck with 
strength and fury at his antagonist. But the fight 
lasted not long, for the black knight, faint with loss 
of blood, fell from his horse in a swoon, and quickly 

Then Beaumains, seeing that the horse and armor 
were better than his own, dismounted and put on 
the dead knight's armor. Now, mounting the sable 
horse, he rode after the damsel. On coming up she 
greeted him as before. 

" Away, knave, the smell of thy clothes displeases 
me. And what a pity it is that such as you should 
by mishap slay so good a knight ! But you will be 
quickly repaid, unless you fly, for there is a knight 
hereby who is double your match." 

"I may be beaten or slain, fair damsel," said 
Beaumains ; " but you cannot drive me off by foul 
words, or by talking of knights who will beat or 
kill me. Somehow I ride on and leave your knights 
on the ground. You would do well to hold your 
peace, for I shall follow you, whatever may happen, 
unless I be truly beaten or slain." 

So they rode on, Beaumains in silence, but the 
damsel still at times reviling, till they saw approach- 


ing them a knight who was all in green, both horse 
and harness. As he came nigh, he asked the 

" Is that my brother, the black knight, who rides 
with you ? ' 

" No/ 7 she replied. " Your brother is dead. 
This unhappy kitchen knave has slain him through 

" Alas ! ' cried the green knight, " has so noble 
a warrior as he been slain by a knave ! Traitor, 
you shall die for your deed ! ' 

" I defy you," said Beaumains. " I slew him 
knightly and not shamefully, and am ready to 
answer to you with sword and spear." 

Then the knight took a green horn from his 
saddle-bow, and blew on it three warlike notes. 
Immediately two damsels appeared, who aided him 
in arming. This done, he mounted his steed, took 
from their hands a green spear and green shield, 
and stationed himself opposite Beaumains. 

Setting spurs to their horses they rode furiously 
together, both breaking their spears, but keeping 
their seats. Then they attacked each other, sword 
in hand, and cut and slashed with knightly vigor. 
At length, in a sudden wheel, Beaumains's horse 
struck that of the green knight on the side and 
overturned it, the knight having to leap quickly 
to escape being overthrown. 

When Beaumains saw this, he also sprang to the 
earth and met his antagonist on foot. Here they 
fought for a long time, till both had lost much 

" You should be ashamed to stand so long fighting 


with a kitchen knave/' cried the damsel at last to the 
green knight. " Who made you knight, that you 
let such a lad match you, as the weed overgrows 
the corn?' 

Her words of scorn so angered the green knight 
that he struck a wrathful blow at Beaumains, 
which cut deeply into his shield. Beaumains, 
roused by this and by the damsel's language, struck 
back with such might on the helm of his foe as to 
hurl him to his knees. Then, seizing him, he flung 
him to the ground, and towered above him with 
upraised sword. 

" I yield me ! ' cried the knight. " Slay me not, 
I beg of you." 

" You shall die," answered Beaumains, " unless 
this damsel pray me to spare your life," and he 
unlaced his helm, as with intent to slay him. 

" Pray you to save his life ! ' cried the damsel, 
in scorn. " I shall never so demean myself to a 
page of the kitchen." 

" Then he shall die." 

" Slay him, if you will. Ask me not to beg for 
his life." 

" Alas ! ' said the green knight, " you would not 
let me die when you can save my life with a word? 
Fair sir, spare me, and I will forgive you my 
brother's death, and become your man, with thirty 
knights who are at my command." 

" In the fiend's name ! ' cried the damsel, " shall 
such a knave have service of thee and thirty 
knights ? " 

" All this avails nothing," said Beaumains. 
"You shall have your life only at this damsel's 


request," and he made a show as if he would slay 

" Let him be, knave/' said the damsel. " Slay 
him not, or you shall repent it." 

" Damsel," said Beaumains, " your request is to 
me a command and a pleasure. His life shall be 
spared, since you ask it. Sir knight of the green 
array, I release you at the damsel's request, for I 
am bound by her wish, and will do all that she 

Then the green knight kneeled down and did 
homage with his sword. 

" I am sorry, sir knight, for your mishap, and 
for your brother's death," said the damsel. " I had 
great need of your help, for I dread the passage 
of this forest." 

" You need not," he replied. " To-night you 
shall lodge at my castle, and to-morrow I will aid 
you to pass the forest." 

So they rode to his manor, which was not far 


distant. Here it happened as it had on the even- 
ing before, for the damsel reviled Beaumains, and 
would not listen to his sitting at the same table 
with her. 

" Why deal you such despite to this noble war- 
rior ? ' said the green knight. " You are wrong, 
for he will do you good service, and whatever he 
declares himself to be, I warrant in the end you 
will find him to come of right noble blood." 

" You say far more of him than he deserves," 
she replied. " I know him too well." 

" And so do I, for he is the best champion I 
ever found ; and I have fought in my day with many 
worthy knights." 


That night, when they went to rest, the green 
knight set a guard over Beaumains's chamber, for 
he feared some harm to him from the bitter scorn 
and hatred of the damsel. In the morning he rode 
with them through the forest, and at parting said, 

" My lord Beaumains, I and my knights shall 
always be at your summons, early or late, or what- 
ever be the service you demand." 

" That is well said. When I require your service 
it will be to yield yourself and your knights to King 

" If you bid us do so, we shall be ready at all 

" Fie on you ! ? said the damsel. " It shames 
me to see good knights obedient to a kitchen knave." 

After they had parted she turned to Beaumains, 
and said, despitefully, 

" Why wilt thou follow me, lackey of the kitchen ? 
Cast away thy spear and shield and fly while you 
may, for that is at hand which you will not easily 
escape. Were you Lancelot himself, or any knight 
of renown, you would not lightly venture on a pass 
just in advance of us, called the pass perilous." 

" Damsel," said Beaumains, " he who is afraid 
let him flee. It would be a shame for me to turn 
back, after having ridden so far with you." 

" You soon shall, whether it be to your liking 
or not," replied the damsel, scornfully. 

What the damsel meant quickly appeared, for in 
a little time they came in sight of a tower which 
was white as snow in hue, and with every appliance 
for defence. Over the gateway hung fifty shields 
of varied colors, and in front spread a level meadow. 


On this meadow were scaffolds and pavilions, and 
many knights were there, for there was to be a tour- 
nament on the morrow. 

The lord of the castle was at a window, and as 
he looked upon the tournament field he saw 
approaching a damsel, a dwarf, and a knight armed 
at all points. 

" A knight-errant, as I live ! ' said the lord. 
" By my faith, I shall joust with him, and get my- 
self in train for the tournament." 

He hastily armed and rode from the gates. 
What Beaumains saw was a knight all in red, his 
horse, harness, shield, spear, and armor alike being 
of this blood-like color. The red knight was, in- 
deed, brother to those whom Beaumains had lately 
fought, and on seeing the black array of the youth, 
he cried, 

"Brother, is it you? What do you in these 
marshes ? * 

" No, no, it is not he," said the damsel, " but a 
kitchen knave who has been brought up on alms 
in Arthur's court/' 

" Then how got he that armor ? r 

"He has slain your brother, the black knight, 
and taken his horse and arms. He has also over- 
come your brother, the green knight. I hope you 
may revenge your brothers on him, for I see no 
other way of getting rid of him." 

" I will try," said the red knight, grimly. " Sir 
knight, take your place for a joust." 

Beaumains, who had not yet spoken, rode to a 
proper distance, and then the two knights rushed 
together with such even force that both horses fell 


to the ground, the riders nimbly leaping from them. 

Then with sword and shield they fought like 
wild boars for the space of two hours, advancing, 
retreating, feigning, striking, now here, now there, 
till both were well weary of the fray. But the 
damsel, who looked on, now cried loudly to the 
red knight, 

" Alas, noble sir, will you let a kitchen knave 
thus endure your might, after all the honor you 
have won from worthy champions ? ' 

Then the red knight flamed with wrath, and 
attacked Beaumains with such fury that he wounded 
him so that the blood flowed in a stream to the 
ground. Yet the young knight held his own 
bravely, giving stroke for stroke, and by a final 
blow hurled his antagonist to the earth. He had 
raised his sword to slay him, when the red knight 
craved mercy, saying, 

" Noble, sir, you have me at advantage, but I 
pray you not to slay me. I yield me with the 
fifty knights at my command. And I forgive you 
all you have done to my brothers." 

" That will not suffice/' said Beaumains. " You 
must die, unless the damsel shall pray me to spare 
your life." And he raised his sword as if for the 
fatal blow. 

" Let him live, then, Beaumains. He is a noble 
knight, and it is only by a chance blow that you 
have overcome him." 

" It is enough that you ask it," said Beaumains. 
" Eise, sir knight, and thank this damsel for your 

The red knight did so, and then prayed that 


they would enter his castle and spend the night 
there. To this they consented, but as they sat at 
supper the damsel continued to berate her cham- 
pion., in such language that their host marvelled 
at the meekness of the knight. 

In the morning the red knight came to Beau- 
mains with his followers, and proffered to him his 
homage and fealty at all times. 

" I thank you," said Beaumains, " but all I ask 
is, that when I demand it you shall go to Arthur's 
court, and yield yourself as his knight." 

" I and my fellowship will ever be ready at your 
summons/' replied the red knight. 

Then Beaumains and the damsel resumed their 
journey, while she, as if in a fury of spite, be- 
rated him more vilely than ever before. 

" Fair lady/' he said, with all meekness, " you 
are discourteous to revile me as you do. What 
would you have of me? The knights that you 
have threatened me with are all dead or my vassels. 
When you see me beaten, then you may bid me 
go in shame and I will obey, but till then I will not 
leave you. I were worse than a fool to be driven 
off by insulting words when I am daily winning 

"You shall soon meet a knight who will test 
your boasted strength. So far you have fought 
with boys. Now you have a man who would try 
Arthur's self." 

" Let him come/' said Beaumains. " The better 
a man he is, the more honor shall I gain from a 
joust with him." 




BEAUMAINS rode forward with the damsel till 
it w r as close upon the hour of noon,, w T hen he saw 
that they were approaching a rich and fair city, 
well walled, and with many noble buildings. 

Between them and the city extended a new-mown 
meadow, a mile and a half in width, on which were 
placed many handsome pavilions. 

" These pavilions belong to the lord who owns 
that city," said the damsel. " It is his custom, dur- 
ing fair weather, to joust and tourney in this 
meadow. He has around him five hundred knights 
and gentlemen of arms, and they have knightly 
games of all sorts." 

" I shall be glad to see that worthy lord," said 

" That you shall, and very soon." 

She rode on till she came in sight of the lord's 

" Look yonder," she said. " That rich pavilion, 
of the color of India, is his. All about him, men 
and women, and horse-trappings, shields, and spears, 
are of the same rare color. His name is Sir Per- 
sant of India, and you will find him the lordliest 
knight you ever saw." 

" Be he never so stout a knight," answered Beau- 
mains, " I shall abide in this field till I see him 
behind his shield." 

"That is a fool's talk," she replied. "If you 


were a wise man, you would fly." 

" Why should I?" rejoined Beaumains. " If he 
be as noble a knight as you say, he will meet me 
alone; not with all his men. And if there come 
but one at a time I shall not fail to face them while 
life lasts." 

" That is a proud boast for a greasy kitchen 
lout," she answered. 

" Let him come and do his worst," said Beau- 
mains. " I would rather fight him five times over 
than endure your insults. You are greatly to blame 
to treat me so vilely." 

" Sir," she replied, with a sudden change of tone, 
" I marvel greatly who you are, and of what kindred 
you come. This I will admit, that you have per- 
formed as boldly as you have promised. But you 
and your horse have had great labor, and I fear we 
have been too long on the road. The place we seek 
is but seven miles away, and we have passed all 
points of peril except this. I dread, therefore, that 
you may receive some hurt from this strong knight 
that will unfit you for the task before you. For 
Persant, strong as he is, is no match for the knight 
who besieges my lady, and I would have you save 
your strength for the work you have undertaken." 

" Be that as it may," said Beaumains, " I have 
come so near the knight that I cannot withdraw 
without shame. I hope, with God's aid, to become 
his master within two hours, and then we can reach 
your lady's castle before the day ends." 

" Much I marvel," cried the damsel, " what man- 
ner of man you are. You must be of noble blood, 
for no woman ever before treated a knight so shame- 


fully as I have you, and you have ever borne it 
courteously and meekly. Such patience could never 
come but from gentle blood." 

"A knight who cannot bear a woman's words 
had better doff his armor/' answered Beaumains. 
" Do not think that I heeded not your words. 
But the anger they gave me was the worse for my 
adversaries, and you only aided to make me prove 
myself a man of worth and honor. If I had meat 
in Arthur's kitchen, what odds ? I could have had 
enough of it in many a place. I did it but to 
prove who were worthy to be my friends, and that 
I will in time make known. Whether I be a gentle- 
man born or not, I have done you a gentle- 
man's service, and may do better before we part." 

" That you have, fair Beaumains," she said. " I 
ask your forgiveness for all I have said or done." 

" I forgive you with all my heart," he replied. 
" It pleases me so to be with you that I have found 
joy even in your evil words. And now that you 
are pleased to speak courteously to me, it seems to 
me that I am stout at heart enough to meet any 
knight living." 

As to the battle that followed between Beau- 
mains and Persant, it began and ended much like 
those that we have related, Persant in the end being 
overcome, and gaining his life at the lady's request. 
He yielded himself and a hundred knights to be at 
Beaumains's command, and invited the travellers 
to his pavilion, where they were feasted nobly. 

In the morning Beaumains and the damsel after 
breakfasting, prepared to continue their journey. 

" Whither do you lead this knight ? * asked Per- 
sant of the damsel. 


" Sir knight," she replied, " he is going to the aid 
of my sister, who is besieged in the Castle Dan- 

" Ah ! ' cried Persant, " then he will have to do 
with the Knight of the Red Lawns, a man without 
mercy, and with the strength of seven men. I fear 
you take too perilous a task, fair sir. This villain 
has done great wrong to the lady of the castle, Dame 
Lioness. I think, fair damsel, you are her sister, 
Linet ? " 

" That is my name," replied the damseL 

"This I may say," rejoined Persant: "the 
Knight of the Red Lawns would have had the castle 
long ago, but it is his purpose to draw to the rescue 
Lancelot, Gawaine, Tristram, or Lamorak, whom 
he is eager to match his might against." 

"My Lord Persant of India," said Linet, "will 
you not make this gentleman a knight before he 
meets this dread warrior ? ' 

" With all my heart," answered Persant. 

" I thank you for your good will," said Beau- 
mains, " but I have been already knighted, and 
that by the hand of Sir Lancelot." 

" You could have had the honor from no more 
renowned knight," answered Persant. " He, Tris- 
tram, and Lamorak now bear the meed of highest 
renown, and if you fairly match the red knight 
you may claim to make a fourth in the world's 
best champions." 

" I shall ever do my best," answered Beaumains. 
"This I may tell you: I am of noble birth. If 
you and the damsel will keep my secret I will tell 
it you." 



We shall not breathe it except with your per- 
mission/ 7 they replied. 

" Then I will acknowledge that my name is 
Gareth of Orkney, that King Lot was my father, 
and that I am a nephew of King Arthur, and 
brother to Gawaine, Gaheris, and Agravaine. Yet 
none of these know who I am, for they left my 
father's castle while I was but a child." 

While they were thus taking leave, Beaumains's 
dwarf had ridden ahead to the besieged castle, 
where he saw the Lady Lioness, and told her of the 
champion her sister was bringing, and what deeds 
he had done. 

" I am glad enough of these tidings/' said the 
lady. " There is a hermitage of mine near by, 
where I would have you go, and take thither two 
silver flagons of wine, of two gallons each; also 
bread, baked venison, and fowls. I give you also 
a rich cup of gold for the knight's use. Then go 
to my sister, and bid her present my thanks to the 
knight, and pray him to eat and drink, that he 
may be strong for the great task he undertakes. 
Tell him I thank him for his courtesy and good- 
ness, and that he whom he is to meet has none of 
these qualities, but strong and bold as he is, cares 
for nothing but murder." 

This message the dwarf brought back, and led 
the knight and damsel to the hermitage, where they 
rested and feasted on the rich food provided. They 
spent the night there, and in the morning heard 
mass and broke their fast. Then they mounted 
and rode towards the besieged castle. 

Their journey soon brought them to a plain, 


where they saw many tents and pavilions, and a 
castle in the distance. And there was a great 
noise and much smoke, as from a large encampment. 
As they came nearer the castle Beaumains saw be- 
fore him a number of great trees, and from these 
hung by the neck armed knights, with their shields 
and swords, and gilt spurs on their heels. Of these 
there were in all nearly forty. 

" What means this sorrowful sight ? ' asked 
Beaumains, with a look of deep concern. 

" Do not be depressed by what you see/ 7 said 
Linet. " You must keep in spirit, or it will be 
the worse for you and us all. These knights came 
here to the rescue of my sister, and the red knight, 
when he had overcome them, put them to this 
shameful death, without mercy or pity. He will 
serve you in the same way if he should vanquish 

" Jesu defend me from such a shameful death 
and disgrace ! ' cried Beaumains. " If I must die, 
I hope to be slain in open battle." 

" It would be better, indeed. But trust not to 
his courtesy, for thus he treats all." 

" It is a marvel that so vile a murderer has been 
left to live so long. I shall do my best to end his 
career of crime." 

Then they rode to the castle, and found it sur- 
rounded with high and strong walls, with double 
ditches, and lofty towers within. Near the walls 
were lodged many lords of the besieging army, 
and there was great sound of minstrelsy and merry- 
making. On the opposite side of the castle was the 
sea, and here vessels rode the waves and the cries 
of mariners were heard. 


Near where they stood was a lofty sycamore- 
tree, and on its trunk hung a mighty horn made 
from an elephant's tusk. This the Knight of the 
Eed Lawns had hung there, in order that any 
errant knight, who wished to battle for the castle, 
might summons him to the fray. 

"But let me warn you," said Linet, "not to 
blow it till noon. For it is now nearly day, and 
men say that his strength increases till the noon- 
tide hour. To blow it now would double your 

" Do not advise me thus, fair damsel," said 
Beaumains. " I shall meet him at his highest 
might, and win worshipfully or die knightly in the 
field. It must be man to man and might to might/' 

Therewith he spurred his horse to the sycamore, 
and, taking the horn in hand, blew with it such a 
blast that castle and camp rang with the sound. 

At the mighty blast knights leaped from their 
tents and pavilions, and those in the castle looked 
from walls and windows, to see what manner of 
man was this that blew so lustily. But the Red 
Knight of the Red Lawns armed in all haste, for 
he had already been told by the dwarf of the 
approach of this champion. He was all blood-red 
in hue, armor, shield, and spurs. An earl buckled 
on his helm, and they then brought him a red 
steed and a red spear, and he rode into a little 
vale near the castle, so that all within and without 
the castle might behold the battle. 

" Look you be light and glad," said Linet to the 
knight, " for yonder is your deadly enemy, and at 
yonder window is my sister, Dame Lioness." 


" Where ? ' asked Beaumains. 

" Yonder/ 7 she said, pointing. 

" I see her," said Beaumains. " And from here 
she seems the fairest lady I ever looked upon. I 
ask no better quarrel than to fight for her, and 
wish no better fate than to greet her as my lady," 
and his face grew glad as he looked up to the 

As he did so the Lady Lioness made a grateful 
courtesy to him, bending to the earth and holding 
up her hands. This courtesy was returned by Beau- 
mains; but now the Knight of the Eed Lawns 
rode forward. 

" Leave your looking, sir knight," he said. " Or 
look this way, for I warn you that she is my lady, 
and I have done many battles for her." 

" You waste your time, then, it seems to me, for 
she wants none of your love. And to waste love 
on those who want it not is but folly. If I thought 
she would not thank me for it, I would think twice 
before doing battle for her. But she plainly wants 
not you, and I will tell you this : I love her, and 
will rescue her or die." 

" Say you so ? The knights who hang yonder 
might give you warning." 

" You shame yourself and knighthood by such 
an evil custom," said Beaumains, hotly. " How 
can any lady love such a man as you ? That shame- 
ful sight gives me more courage than fear, for I 
am nerved now to revenge those knights as well as 
to rescue yonder lady." 

" Make ready," cried the red knight ; " we have 
talked enough." 


Then Beaumains bade the damsel retire to a safe 
distance. Taking their places, they put their spears 
in rest, and came together like two thunderbolts, 
each smiting the other so fiercely that the breast- 
plates, horse-girths, and cruppers burst, and both 
fell to the earth with the bridle-reins still in their 
hands, and they lay awhile stunned by the fall. 

So long they lay indeed that all who looked on 
thought that both their necks were broken, and 
said that the stranger knight must be of mighty 
prowess, for never had the red knight been so 
roughly handled before. 

But ere long the knights regained their breath 
and sprang to their feet. Then, drawing their 
swords, they ran like fierce lions together, giving 
each other such buffets on the helms that both 
reeled backwards, while pieces were hewed out from 
their armor and shields and fell into the field. 

Thus they fought on till it was past noon, when 
both stopped for breath, and stood panting and 
bleeding till many who beheld them swept for pity. 
When they had rested awhile they again w r ent to 
battle, now gnashing at each other with their swords 
like tusked boars, and now running together like 
furious ranis, so that at times both fell to the 
ground; and at times they were grappled so closely 
that they changed swords in the wrestle. 

This went on till evening was near at hand, and 
so evenly they continued matched that none could 
know w r hich would win. Their armor was so hewn 
away that the naked flesh showed in places, and 
these places they did their utmost to defend. The 
red knight was a wily fighter, and Beaumains suf- 



fered sorely before he learned his methods and met 
him in his own way. 

At length, by mutual assent, they granted each 
other a short time for rest, and seated themselves 
upon two hillocks, where each had his page to unlace 
his helm and give him a breath of the cold air. 

While Beaumains's helm was off he looked at the 
castle window, and there saw the Lady Lioness, who 
looked at him in such wise that his heart grew light 
with joy, and he bade the red knight to make ready, 
for the battle must begin again. 

Then they laced their helms and stepped together 
and fought freshly. But Beaumains came near to 
disaster, for the red knight, by a skilful sword 
sweep, struck his sword from his hand, and then 
gave him such a buffet on the helm as hurled him to 
the earth. 

The red knight ran forward to his fallen foe, 
but Linet cried loudly, 

" Oh, Beaumains, where is thy valor gone ? 
Alas, my sister sobs and weeps to see you over- 
thrown, till my own heart is heavy for her grief." 

Hearing this, Beaumains sprang to his feet be- 
fore his foe could reach him, and with a leap recov- 
ered his sword, which he gripped with a strong 
hand. And thus he faced again his surprised 

Then the young knight, nerved by love and des- 
peration, poured such fierce blows on his enemy that 
he smote the sword from his hand and brought him 
to the earth with a fiery blow on the helm. 

Before the red knight could rise, Beaumains 
threw himself upon him, and tore his helm from 


his head with intent to slay him. But the fallen 
knight cried loudly, 

" noble knight, I yield me to thy mercy." 

"Why should you have it, after the shameful 
death you have given to so many knights ? ' 

" I did all this through love," answered the red 
knight. " I loved a lady whose brother was slain 
by Lancelot or Gawaine, as she said. She made 
me swear on my knighthood to fight till I met 
one of them, and put to a shameful death all I 
overcame. And I vowed to fight King Arthur's 
knights above all, till I should meet him that had 
slain her brother." 

Then there came up many earls, and barons, and 
noble knights, who fell upon their kne*es and 
prayed for mercy to the vanquished, saying, 

" Sir, it were fairer to take homage and fealty 
of him, and let him hold his lands of you, than to 
slay him. Nothing wrong that he has done will 
be undone by his death, and we will all become 
your men, and do you homage and fealty." 

" Fair lords," said Beaumains, " I am loath to 
slay this knight, though his deeds have been ill 
and shameful. But as he acted through a lady's 
request I blame him the less, and will release him 
on these conditions : He must go into the castle 
and yield to the Lady Lioness, and make amends 
to her for his trespass on her lands; then if she 
forgives him I will. Afterwards he must go to 
the court of King Arthur and obtain forgiveness 
from Lancelot and Gawaine for the ill will he has 
borne them." 

" All this I will do," said the red knight, " and 


give you pledges and sureties therefor." 

Then Beaumains granted him his life, and per- 
mitted him to rise. Afterwards the damsel Linet 
disarmed Beaumains and applied healing unguents 
to his wounds, and performed the same service for 
the red knight. For ten days thereafter Beaumains 
dwelt with the red knight, who showed him all the 
honor possible, and who afterwards went into the 
castle and submitted himself to the Lady Lioness, 
according to the terms of his compact. 



AFTER the ten days of feasting and pleasure that 
followed the events we have just related, the Bed 
Knight of the Eed Lawns set out with his noblest 
followers to Arthur's court, to make submission 
as he had covenanted. When he had gone, Beau- 
mains armed himself, took his horse and spear, 
and rode to the castle of the Lady Lioness. But 
when he came to the gate he found there many 
armed men, who pulled up the drawbridge and let 
fall the portcullis. 

Marvelling deeply that he was denied admittance, 
Beaumains looked up at the window, where he saw 
the lady of the castle, who called out to him, 

" Go thy way, Sir Beaumains. You shall not yet 
have my love till you have earned for yourself a 





name of world-wide honor. I bid you, therefore, 
go strive for fame and glory this twelvemonth, and 
when you return you shall hear new tidings." 

" Alas, fair lady," said Beaumains, " is this all 
I have deserved of vou? I thought I had bought 

<s O O 

your love at the price of some of the best blood in 
my body." 

" Fair, courteous knight, be not so hasty," an- 
swered Lioness. "Your labor and your love shall 
not be lost. A twelvemonth will soon pass away; 
and trust me that I shall be true to you, and to 
my death shall love no other than you." 

With this she turned from the window, and 
Beaumains rode slowly away from the castle in 
deep sorrow, and heeding not whither he went till 
deep night came upon him. The next day he rode 
in the same heedless fashion, and at night couched 
in a wayside lodge, bidding the dwarf guard his 
horse and watch all night. 

But near day dawn came a knight in black armor, 
who, seeing that Beaumains slept soundly, crept 
slyly behind the dwarf, caught him up under his 
arm, and rode away with him at full speed. But as 
he rode, the dwarf called loudly to his master for 
help, waking the sleeping knight, who sprang to 
his feet and saw the robber and the dwarf vanishing 
into the distance. 

Then Beaumains armed himself in a fury, and 
rode straight forward through marshes and dales, 
so hot upon the chase that he heeded not the road, 
and was more than once flung by his stumbling 
horse into the mire. At length he met a country- 
man, whom he asked for information. 


" Sir knight," he answered, " I have seen the 
rider with the dwarf. But I advise you to follow 
him no farther. His name is Sir Gringamore; he 
dwells but two miles from here, and he is one of 
the most valiant knights of the country round." 

With little dread from this warning, Beaumains 
rode on, with double fury as he came near the rob- 
ber's castle. Soon he thundered through the gates, 
which stood wide open, and sword in hand cried, 
in a voice that rang through the castle, 

" Thou traitor, Sir Gringamore, yield me my 
dwarf again, or by the faith that I owe to the 
order of knighthood I will make you repent bitterly 
your false deed." 

Meanwhile, within the castle matters of interest 
were occurring. For Gringamore was brother to 
the Lady Lioness, and had stolen the dwarf at her 
request, that she might learn from him who Beau- 
mains really was. The dwarf, under threat of im- 
prisonment for life, thus answered, 

" I fear to tell his name and kindred. Yet if I 
must I will say that he is a king's son, that his 
mother is sister to King Arthur, and that his name 
is Sir Gareth of Orkney. Now, I pray you, let 
me go to him again, for he will have me in spite 
of you, and if he be angry, he will work you much 
rack and ruin." 

" As for that," said Gringamore, " it can wait. 
Let us go to dinner." 

" He may well be a king's son," said Linet to her 
sister, "for he is the most courteous and long- 
suffering man I ever met. I tried him with such 
reviling as never lady uttered before, but he bore 


it all with meek and gentle answers. Yet to armed 
knights he was like a lion." 

As they thus talked, the challenge of Beaumains 
rang loud from the castle court. Then Gringa- 
more called loudly to him from a window, 

" Cease your boasting, Gareth of Orkney, you 
will not get your dwarf again/' 

" Thou coward knight," cried Beaumains. 
" Bring him here, and do battle with me. Then 
if you can win him, keep him." 

" So I will when I am ready. But you will not 
get him by loud words." 

" Do not anger him, brother," said Lioness. " I 
have all I want from the dwarf, and he may have 
him again. But do not let him know who I am. 
Let him think me a strange lady/' 

" Very well," said Gringamore ; " if that is your 
wish, he can have the dwarf." Then he went down 
to the court and said, 

" Sir, I beg your pardon, and am ready to amend 
all the harm I have done you. Pray alight, and 
take such cheer as my poor castle affords." 

" Shall I have mv dwarf ? " said Gareth. 


" Yes. Since he told me who you are, and of 
your noble deeds, I am ready to return him." 

Then Gareth dismounted, and the dwarf came 
and took his horse. 

"Oh, my little fellow," said Gareth, "I have 
had many adventures for your sake." 

Gringamore then led him into fhe hall and pre- 
sented him to his wife. And while they stood there 
conversing Dame Lioness came forth dressed like 
a princess, and was presented to the knight. 


When Gareth saw her his feeling for the Lady 
Lioness weakened in his heart, and it grew ready 
to vanish as the day passed, and he conversed much 
with this strange and lovely lady. There were all 
manner of games, and sports of dancing and sing- 
ing, and the more he beheld her the more he loved 
her, while through his heart ran ever the thought: 
"Would that the lady of the Castle Dangerous 
were half so lovely and charming as this beautiful 

When supper came, Gareth could not eat, and 
hardly knew where he was, so hot had his love 
grown. All this was noted by Gringamore, who 
after supper took his sister aside and said, 

"I can well see how matters stand between you 
and this noble knight. And it seems to me you 
cannot do better than to bestow your hand upon 

"I should like to try him further," she replied, 
" though he has done me noble service, and my heart 
is warmly turned to him." 

Gringamore then went to Gareth and said, 

" Sir, I welcome you gladly to my house, for I 
can see that you dearly love my sister, and that she 
loves you as well. With my will she is yours if 
you wish her." 

" If she will accept me," answered Gareth, " there 
will be no happier man on earth." 

" Trust me for that," said Gringamore. 

"I fancied I loved the Lady Lioness," said Ga- 
reth, "and promised for her sake to return to this 
country in a twelvemonth. But since I have seen 
your sister I fear my love for her is gone." 


" It was too sudden to be deep," said Gringa- 
more. " She will be consoled, doubt not. Xow 
let me take you to my sister." 

Then he led Gareth to his sister and left them 
together, where they told each other their love, 
and Gareth kissed her many times, and their hearts 
were filled with joy. 

" But how is it with the Lady Lioness, to whom 
you vowed your love ? ' she asked. 

" Promised ; not vowed," he answered. " And 
she was not ready to accept it, but gave me a twelve- 
month's probation. Moreover, I saw but her face 
at a window, and that was little to base love upon." 

" Did she look like me ? " 

" Somewhat, but not half so lovely." 

" Do you think you could have loved her so 

" Xo, indeed ; for I will vow by sword and spear 
that there is no woman in the world so charming 
as you." 

" I fear that the Ladv Lioness loves YOU. and 

*.-' */ 

that her heart will be broken." 

" How could she ? She saw so little of me." 

ee I know she loves you ; she has told me so. I 
bid you to forget me and make her happy." 

" That I can never do. You do not love me, or 
you could not say this." 

" You are my heart's desire. But I feel deeply 
for the Lady Lioness, whose love I know. If you 
cannot love her alone, you may love us both together. 
I grant you this privilege." 

" I will not accept it," said Gareth, looking 
strangely at her smiling countenance. a l love 
but you; my heart can hold no more." 


" You blind felloe," she answered, with a merry 
laugh, "you looked not at the Lady Lioness closely, 
or you would not so easily forget your troth plight. 
Know, sirrah, that I am the lady of the Castle 
Dangerous, that my name is Lioness, and that I am 
she whom you have so lightly thrown aside for the 
love of a strange lady/' 

Then Gareth looked into her glowing countenance, 
and saw there that she spoke the truth and that 
he had been pleasantly beguiled. With a warm 
impulse of love he caught her in his arms and 
kissed her rosy lips, exclaiming, 

" I withdraw it all. I love you both ; the lady 
of the Castle Dangerous a little; but the lady of 
the Castle Amorous as my heart's mistress, to dwell 
there while life remains." 

Then they conversed long and joyfully, and she 
told him why she had made her brother steal the 
dwarf, and why she had deceived him, so as to 
win his love for herself alone. And they plighted 
their troth, and vowed that their love for each 
other should never cease. 

Other strange things happened to Gareth in that 
castle, through the spells of the damsel Linet, who 
knew something of sorcery. But these we shall 
not tell, but return to King Arthur's court, in which 
at the next feast of Pentecost a high festival was 
held at Carlion. 

Hither, during the feast, came all those whom 
Gareth had overcome, and yielded themselves, say- 
ing that they had been sent thither by a knight 
named Beaumains. But most of all was Arthur 
surprised by the deeds of his kitchen boy when 


the Red Knight of the Red Lawns rode up with 
six hundred followers, and yielded himself as vas- 
sal to Beaumains and to the king. Arthur then, 
charging him strictly that he should do no more 
deeds of murder, gave to Sir Ironside, which was 
the knight's name, the greatest honors of his court, 
and also to the green and the red knights, and to 
Sir Persant of Inde, who were all present with their 

But while the court was at feast there came in 
the queen of Orkney, with a great following of 
knights and ladies, seeking her young son Gareth. 
She was lovingly saluted by her sons Gawaine, 
Gaheris, and Agravaine, who for fifteen years had 
not seen her, but she loudly demanded Gareth of 
her brother King Arthur. 

" He was here among you a twelvemonth, and 
you made a kitchen knave of him, which I hold 
to be a shame to you all. What have you done 
to the dear son who was my joy and bliss ? ' 

These words filled all hearts with a strange sen- 
sation, and most of all that of Gawaine, who 
thought it marvellous that he should have made 
so much of his brother and not known him. Then 
Arthur told his sister of all that had happened, 
and cheered her heart with a recital of her son's 
great deeds, and promised to have the whole realm 
searched till he should be found. 

"You shall not need," said Lancelot. "My ad- 
vice is that you send a messenger to Dame Lioness, 
and request her to come in all haste to court. Let 
her give you counsel where to find him. I doubt 
not she knows where he is." 


This counsel seemed judicious to the king, and 
he sent the messenger as requested., who came in 
due time to the Castle Dangerous, and delivered 
his letters to Lioness. 

She brought these to her brother and Gareth, 
and asked what she should do. 

" My lady and love," said Gareth, " if you go to 
Arthur's court I beg that you will not let them 
know where I am. But give this advice to the 
king, that he call a great tournament, to be held 
at your castle at the feast of the Assumption, and 
announce that whatever knight proves himself best 
shall wed you and win your lands. Be sure that 
I will be there to do my best in your service." 

This advice pleased the lady, whose warm faith 
in the prowess of her lover told her that he would 
win in the tournament. She therefore set out with 
a noble escort and rode to King Arthur's court, 
where she was received with the highest honors. 
The king closely questioned her about Sir Gareth, 
desiring particularly to know what had become of 
him. She answered that where he was she was not 
at liberty to tell, and said further to the king, 

" Sir, there is a way to find him. It is my pur- 
pose to call a tournament, which shall be held before 
my castle at the feast of the Assumption. You, 
my lord Arthur, must be there with your knights, 
and my knights shall be against you. I doubt me 
not that then you shall hear of Sir Gareth." 

"That is well advised," said the king. 

" It shall be announced," she continued, " that 
the knight who proves the best shall wed me and 
be lord of my lands. If he be already wedded, his 


wife shall have a coronal of gold, set with precious 
stones to the value of a thousand pounds, and a 
white jerfalcon." 

" It is well," said the king. " That will bring 
Sir Gareth, if he be alive and able to come. If he 
would win you, he must do his duty nobly." 

Soon after the Lady Lioness departed and re- 
turned to her castle, where she told all that had 
passed, and began preparations for the tournament, 
which was to be held two months from that day. 

Gareth sent for Sir Persant of Inde, and for Sir 
Ironside, the Red Knight of the Red Lawns, bid- 
ding them be ready with all their followers, to fight 
on his side against King Arthur and his knights. 
And the cry for the tournament was made in Eng- 
land, Wales and Scotland, Ireland, and Cornwall, 
and in all the out islands, and in Brittany and other 
countries. Many good knights came from afar, 
eager to win honor in the lists, the most of whom 
held with the party of the castle against King 
Arthur and his knights. 

In due time King Arthur and his following ap- 
peared at the Castle Dangerous, there being with 
him Gawaine and the other brothers of Gareth, 
Lancelot with his nephews and cousins, and all 
the most valiant Knights of the Round Table, with 
various kings who owed him knightly service, as 
noble a band of warriors as had ever been seen in 
the land. 

Meanwhile Dame Lioness had hospitably enter- 
tained the knights of her party, providing ample 
lodging and food, though abundance was left to 
be had for gold and silver by King Arthur and his 


But Gareth begged her and all who knew him 
in no manner to make known his name, but to 
deal with him as if he were the least of their com- 
pany, as he wished to fight in secret and bide his 
own time to declare himself. 

" Sir," said Dame Lioness to him, " if such be 
your desire, I will lend you a ring, whose virtue 
is such that it will turn that which is green to 
red, and that which is red to green; and also turn 
blue to white, and white to blue, and so with all 
colors. And he who wears it will lose no blood, 
however desperately he fights. For the great love 
I bear you I lend you this ring; but as you love 
me heartily in return, let me have it again when 
the tournament is done, for this ring increases my 
beauty more than it is of itself/' 

" My own dear lady," cried Gareth, " now indeed 
you prove your love for me. Gladly shall I wear 
that ring, for I much desire not to be known." 

Then Sir Gringamore gave Gareth a powerful bay 
courser, and a suit of the best of armor; and with 
them a noble sword which his father had long before 
won from a heathen tyrant. And so the lover made 
ready for the tournament, of which his lady-love 
was to be the prize. 

Two days before the Assumption of our Lady, 
King Arthur reached the castle, and for those two 
days rich feasting was held, while royal minstrelsy 
and merry-making of all kinds filled every soul 
with joy. But when came the morning of the 
Assumption all was restless bustle and warlike con- 
fusion. At an early hour the heralds were com- 
manded to blow to the field, and soon from every 


side a throng of knights was to be seen riding gayly 
to the lists, while a goodly host of spectators made 
haste to take their seats, all eager to behold that 
noble passage-at-arms. 

Valorous and worthy were the deeds that fol- 
lowed, for hosts of the best knights in the world 
had gathered in the lists, and there was wondrous 
breaking of spears and unhorsing of knights, while 
many who boasted of their firm seat in the saddle 
went headlong to the earth. 

At length there rode into the lists Sir Gareth 
and Sir Ironside from the castle, each of whom 
smote to the ground the first knights that encoun- 
tered them, and before long time had passed Gareth 
had with one spear unhorsed seven knights of 

When King Agwisance of Ireland saw this new- 
comer fare so nobly, he marvelled much who he 
might be, for at one time he seemed green and at 
another blue, his color appearing to change at every 
course as he rode to and fro, so that no eye could 
readily follow him. 

" I must try this strange turn-color knight my- 
self/' said Sir Agwisance, and he spurred his horse 
vigorously on Gareth. 

But with a mighty stroke of his spear Gareth 
thrust him from his horse, saddle and all. Then 
King Carados of Scotland rode against him, and 
was hurled to the earth, horse and man. King 
Uriens of Gore, King Badgemagus, and others who 
tried their fortune, were served in the same manner. 
Then Sir Galahalt, the high prince, cried loudly, 

" Knight of the many colors, well hast thou 


jousted; now make ready, that I mav joust with 

Gareth heard him, and got a great spear, and 
quickly the two knights encountered, the prince 
breaking his spear. But Gareth smote him on the 
left side of the helm so that he reeled in his saddle, 
and would have fallen had not his men supported 

" Truly," said King Arthur, " that knight with 
the many colors is a lusty fighter. Lancelot, do 
you try his mettle, before he beats all our best 


" Sir," said Lancelot, " I should hold it' unjust 
to meet him fresh after his hard labors. It is not 
the part of a good knight to rob one of the honor 
for which he has worked so nobly. It may be that 
he is best beloved of the lady of all that are here, 
for I can see that he enforces himself to do great 
deeds. Therefore, for me, he shall have what 
honor he has won; though it lay in my power to 
put him from it, I would not." 

And now. in the lists, the breaking of spears was 
followed by drawing of swords; and then there 
began a sore tournament. There did Sir Lamorak 
marvellous deeds of arms, and betwixt him and 
Sir Ironside there was a strong battle, and one also 
between Palamides and Bleoberis. Then came in 
Lancelot, who rode against Sir Turquine and his 
brother Carados, fighting them both together. 

Seeing Lancelot thus hard pressed, Gareth pushed 
his horse between him and his opponents, and 
hurtled them asunder, but no stroke would he smite 
Sir Lancelot, but rode briskly on, striking to right 


and left, so that his path was marked by the knights 
he overturned. 

Afterward Gareth rode out of the press of knights 
to adjust his helm,, which had become loosened. 
Here his dwarf came briskly up with drink, and 
said to him, 

" Let me hold your ring, that you lose it not while 
you drink." 

Gareth gave it to him, and quaffed deeply of the 
refreshing draught, for he was burning with thirst. 
This done, his eagerness to return to the fray was 
so great that he forgot the ring, which he left in 
the keeping of the dwarf, while he replaced his helm, 
mounted his horse, and rode briskly back to the lists. 

When he reached the field again he was in yellow 
armor, and there he rashed off helms and pulled 
down knights till King Arthur marvelled more than 
ever what knight this was, for though his color 
changed no more, the king saw by his hair that he 
was the same knight. 

" Go and ride about that yellow knight," said 
the king to several heralds, " and see if you can 
learn who he is. I have asked many knights of his 
party to-day, and none of them know him." 

So a herald rode as near Gareth as he could, and 
there he saw written about his helm in letters of 
gold, " This helm is Sir Gareth's of Orkney." 

Then the herald cried out as if he were mad, and 
many others echoed his words, "The knight in 
the yellow arms is Sir Gareth of Orkney, King 
Lot's son ! ' 

When Gareth saw that he was discovered he 



doubled his strokes in his anger, and smote down 
Sir Sagramore, and his brother Gawaine. 

" Oh, brother ! ' cried Gawaine, " I did not deem 
that you would strike me. Can you not find food 
enough for your sword, without coming so near 
home ? " 

On hearing this, Gareth was troubled in soul, 
and with great force made his way out of the press, 
meeting his dwarf outside. 

" Faithless boy ! ' he cried ; " you have beguiled 
me foully to-day by keeping my ring. Give it to 
me again; I am too well known without it." 

He took the ring, and at once he changed color 
again, so that all lost sight of him but Gawaine, 
who had kept his eyes fixed upon him. Leaving 
the lists, Gareth now rode into the forest, followed 
at a distance by his brother, who soon lost sight 
of him in the woodland depths. 

When Gareth saw that he had thus distanced 
his pursuer, he turned to the dwarf and asked 
his counsel as to what should now be done. 

" Sir/' said the dwarf, " it seems best to me, 
now that you are free from danger of spying, that 
3 7 ou send my lady, Dame Lioness, her ring. It is 
too precious a thing to keep from her." 

" That is well advised/' said Gareth. " Take it 
to her, and say that I recommend myself to her 
good grace, and will come when I may; and pray 
her to be true and faithful to me, as I will be to 

" It shall be done as vou command," said the 


dwarf, and, receiving the ring, he rode on his 


The Lady Lioness received him graciously, and 
listened with beaming eyes to Gareth's message. 

" Where is my knight ? ' she asked. 

"He bade me say that he would not be long 
from you/' answered the dwarf. 


Then, bearing a tender reply from the lady, the 
dwarf sought his master again, and found him 
impatiently waiting, for he was weary and needed 

As they rode forward through the forest a storm 
of thunder and lightning came up suddenly, and 
it rained as if heaven and earth were coming to- 
gether. On through this conflict of the elements 
rode the weary knight and the disconsolate dwarf, 
under the drenching leaves of the forest, until night 
was near at hand. And still it thundered and 
lightened as if all the spirits of the air had gone 

At last, through an opening in the trees, Gareth 
to his delight beheld the towers of a castle, and 
heard the watchman's call upon its walls. 

" Good luck follows bad, my worthy dwarf," he 
cried. "Here is shelter; let us to it." 

He rode to the barbican of the castle and called 
to the porter, praying him in courteous language 
to let him in from the storm. 

" Go thy way," cried the porter, surlily ; " thou 
gettest no lodging here." 

" Say not so, fair sir. I am a knight of King 
Arthur's, and pray the lord or lady of this castle 
to give me harbor for love of the king." 

Then the porter went to the duchess, and told 
her that a knight of King Arthur's sought shelter. 


1 1 will see him," said the duchess ; * for King 
Arthur's sake he shall not go harborless." 

Then she went up into a tower over the gate, 
with great torch-light, that she might behold the 
storm-stayed wayfarer. When Gareth saw the light, 
he cried loudly, 

" Whether thou be lord or lady, giant or cham- 
pion, I pray for harbor this night. If it be that I 
must fight for my lodging, spare me that till morn- 
ing, when I have rested, for I and my horse are 
both weary." 

" Sir knight," said the lady, " you speak like a 
bold knight errant. This you must know, that 
the lord of this castle loves not King Arthur nor 
any of his court. Therefore, it were better for 
you not to enter here. If you come in it must be 
under this contract, that wherever you meet my 
lord, by road, by lane, or by street, you shall yield 
to him as his prisoner." 

" Madam," asked Gareth, " what is your lord's 
name ? ' 

" He is the Duke de la Rowse," she answered. 

" Well, madam, it shall be as you say. I prom- 
ise that wherever I meet your lord I shall yield 
me to his good grace, with the covenant that he 
will do me no harm. If I understand that he will, 
then shall I release myself as best I can with sword 
and spear." 

" You speak well and wisely," answered the 
duchess, and she ordered that the drawbridge be 

Gareth rode into the court-yard, where he alighted 
and gave his horse to a stableman. Then he was 


led to the hall, where his dwarf removed his armor. 

" Madam/' he said, " I shall not leave this hall 
to-night. When it comes daylight if any one wants 
to fight me he will find me ready." 

Supper was now prepared, the table being gar- 
nished with many goodly dishes, and the duchess 
and other fair ladies sat by while Gareth ate, some 
of them saying that they never saw a man of nobler 
carriage or aspect. Shortly after he had supped, 
his bed was made in the hall, and there he rested 
all night. 

In the morning he heard mass and took his leave 
of the duchess and her lady attendants, thanking 
her warmly for his lodging and the good cheer 
she had set before him. She now asked him his 

" Madam," he replied, " my name is Gareth of 
Orkney, though some men call me Beaumains." 

Hearing this, she bade him adieu with great 
courtesy, for she now knew that she had entertained 
the knight who had rescued Dame Lioness, and the 
victor at the tournament. 

As for Gareth, he rode onward mile after mile, 
till he found himself on a mountain side, where 
he was confronted by a knight named Sir Bende- 
laine, who demanded that he should joust or yield 
himself prisoner. Gareth, angry at this demand, 
rode against the freebooter and smote him so furi- 
ously that his spear pierced his body, so that he 
died on reaching his castle. 

Quickly a throng of his knights and servants, 
furious at their lord's death, rode after the victor 
and assailed him fiercely. When they saw how 


well he defended himself, they attacked his horse 
and killed it with spear-thrusts, and then rushed 
in a body on the dismounted knight. But they 
found him still more than their match, for one after 
another of them fell beneath his sword till onlv four 


were left. These fled in terror to the castle, and 
Gareth, taking the best of their horses, rode leisurely 
on his way. 

Many miles farther had he gone when he found 
himself near a roadside castle, from whose walls 
there came to his ears dismal lamentations in ladies' 
voices. While he stood wondering at this there 
came by a page. 

" What noise is that within the castle ? ' asked 

" Sir knight/' answered the page, " within this 
castle there are thirty ladies, all widows, for their 


husbands have been slain by the lord of the castle, 
who is called the brown knight without pity, and 
there is no more perilous knight now living. There- 
fore," continued the page, " I bid you flee." 

" You may be afraid of him," said Gareth ; " but 
I shall not flee for that." 

Then the page saw the brown knight coming. 

" Lo ! yonder he cometh," he said. 

" Let me deal with him," said Gareth. 

When the brown knight saw a champion in the 
road, with spear in rest, awaiting him, he prepared 
quickly for the combat, and spurring his strong 
war-horse, rode furiously upon Gareth, breaking 
his spear in the middle of his shield. But Gareth 
struck him a fatal blow in return, for his spear 
went through his body, so that he fell to the ground 
stark dead. 


Then the victor rode into the castle, and prayed 
the ladies that he might find repose there for the 

" Alas ! " they cried, that cannot be." 

" Give him your best cheer," said the page, " for 
this knight has killed your enemy." 

Hearing this, they joyfully did their utmost to 
make him comfortable. In the morning, when he 
was ready to depart, he went to mass, and there saw 
the thirty ladies kneeling, and some of them grovel- 
ling upon the tombs, with the greatest sorrow and 

" Fair ladies, you have my pity/' he said. 
" Grieve no more, I pray you ; your enemy is justly 
punished for his crimes." 

So with few words he departed, and rode onward 
till fortune brought him into another mountain. 
Not far up its slope had he gone when he saw 
before him a sturdy knight, who bade him stand and 

" Who are you ? ' asked Gareth. 

" I am the Duke de la Rowse." 

" Then I lodged lately in your castle, and prom- 
ised your lady that I should yield unto you." 

" Ah ! ' said the duke, " are you that proud 
knight who proffered to fight with any of my fol- 
lowers ? ' Make ready, sirrah ; I must have a 
passage-at-arms with you, for I would know which 
of us is the better man/' 

So they spurred together, and Gareth smote the 
duke from his horse. But in a moment he was 
on his feet, sword in hand, and bidding his antag- 
onist to alight and continue the battle on foot. 


Nothing loath, Gareth obeyed, and for more than an 
hour they fought, until both were sorely hurt. But 
in the end Gareth got the duke to the earth, and 
bade him yield if he would save his life. At this 
the duke lost no time in yielding. 

" Then must you go," said Gareth, " unto my lord 
King Arthur at the next feast, and say that I, Sir 
Gareth of Orkney, sent you." 

" It shall be done," said the duke. " And I am 
at your command all the days of my life, with a 
hundred knights in my train." 

This said, the duke departed, leaving Gareth 
there alone. But not long had he stood when he 
saw another armed knight approaching. Then 
Gareth took the duke's shield, and mounted, waiting 
the new-comer, who rode upon him without a word 
of greeting. And now, for the first time, Gareth 
met his match, for the stranger knight held his 
seat unharmed, and wounded him in the side with 
his spear. 

Then they alighted and drew their swords, and 
for two hours they fought, till the blood flowed 
freely from them both. 

As thev thus fought there came that wav the 

J +/ 

damsel Linet, riding on an ambling mule. When 
she saw them, she cried, 

" Sir Gawaine, Sir Gawaine, leave off fighting 
with thv brother Gareth." 


When Gawaine, for it was indeed he, heard this, 
he threw down his shield and sword and ran to 
Gareth, whom he took in his arms, and then kneeled 
down and asked his mercy. 

" Who are you," asked Gareth, " that one minute 
fight me so strongly and yield the next ? ' 


" Oh, Gareth, I am your brother Gawaine." 

Then Gareth unlaced his helm, and kneeled to 
him and asked his mercy. Both now rose and 
embraced each other, weeping so that it was long 
before they could speak. When their voices re- 
turned they entered into a brotherly contest, for 
each insisted that the other had won the battle. As 
they thus stood in loving converse, the damsel Linet 
came up to them, and stanched their wounds, from 
which the blood was flowing freely. 

" What will you do now ? ' she asked. " It 
seems to me that my lord Arthur should have 
news of you, for your horses are too bruised to 
carry you." 

" It is well said," answered Gawaine. " Will 
you, fair damsel, bear word to him?' ; 

Then she took her mule and rode to where the 
king abode, he then being at a castle scarcely two 
miles distant. The tidings she brought him cheered 
his heart wonderfully, for much had the disap- 
pearance of Gareth troubled him. Turning to his 
attendants, he ordered that a palfrey should be 
saddled in all haste. 

When he was in the saddle he turned to the won- 
dering lords and ladies and told them whither he 
went, bidding all who wished to greet Sir Gareth 
to follow. Then was there hasty saddling and 
bridling of queens' horses and princes' horses, and 
happiest were they who soonest got ready. 

But the king rode on till he came where Gawaine 
and Gareth sat upon a little hill-side, and here he 
sprang from his horse and embraced Gareth as 
though he were his own son. Quickly behind him 


came his sister Morgause, who fell into a swoon 
when she saw her dear young son. And the other 
knights and ladies came up in all haste, and great 
was the joy that all felt. After congratulations 
had passed, and the two brothers been removed to 
a place where their wounds could be attended to, 
the Dame Lioness w r as sent for, and came at the 
utmost speed, with her brother Sir Gringamore and 
forty knights. 

Among all the ladies there she was the fairest 
and peerless. And when Gareth saw her, so loving 
were the looks and joyous the words between them, 
that all who beheld it were filled with delight. 

Eight days passed before Gareth and his brother 
recovered from their wounds. Then Arthur came 
to him, with Guenever, and Morgause, and others 
of high degree, and asked him if he w r ould have 
the Lady Lioness for his wife. 

" My lord, I love her above all ladies living." 

" Now, fair lady, what say you ? ' asked the 

" Most noble king," replied Lioness, with blushing 
face, " my lord Gareth is more to me than any 
king or prince that was ever christened. If I may 
not have him, none will I ever have. My first love 
is he, and my last he shall be." 

" And if I have you not as my wife," broke in 
Gareth, " never shall lady living give joy to my 

" What, nephew," said the king, " is the wind in 
that door? Then not for my crown would I sever 
two such loving hearts, but would much prefer to 
increase than to distress your love." 









And words to the same effect said Gareth's 

Then provision was made for a brilliant and 
joyous wedding, the king advising that it should 
take place on the Michaelmas following, at Kin- 
kenadon by the seaside, where is a plentiful country. 
And so it was cried in all places through the realm. 

Dame Lioness and the damsel Linet, with Sir 
Gringamore, now rode to their castle, where she 
gave Gareth a jewelled ring and received one from 
him, while Arthur gave her a rich bee of gold. 
Then Arthur and his following rode towards Kin- 
kenadon. Gareth soon followed, and joined Arthur 
on his way. 

Oh, the great cheer that Lancelot now made of 
Gareth, and Gareth of him; for there was never 
knight that Gareth loved as he did Lancelot. But 
he cared less for his brother Gawaine, who was 
revengeful, and disposed to murder where he hated, 
a feeling which the young knight abhorred. 

When Michaelmas came near, Dame Lioness with 
her brother and sister rode to Kinkenadon, where 
they were lodged at the expense of King Arthur, 
who had prepared for them royally. 

And upon Michaelmas day the bishop of Canter- 
bury performed the wedding ceremony between 
Gareth and the Lady Lioness with all solemnity, 
and in the presence of a noble and splendid gather- 
ing of the greatest lords and highest ladies of Eng- 
land's realm. 

And here other weddings took place, for King 
Arthur devised that Gaheris should wed the damsel 
Linet. and that Agravaine should wed Dame Laurel, 
a fair lady, niece to the Lady Lioness. 


When these weddings were done another solemn- 
ity took place; for there came into the church the 
various knights whom Gareth had overcome, each 
with his knightly followers, and with them the 
thirty ladies whom he had delivered from the brown 
knight, attended by many gentlewomen. All the 
knights did homage and fealty to Gareth, and the 
ladies kneeled and prayed heartily that happiness 
might be his lot throughout his life. 

Afterwards there was high feasting, and all man- 
ner of games and revels, with the richest minstrelsy, 
and jousts that lasted three days. But the king 
would not suffer Sir Gareth to joust because of his 
new bride; for the Dame Lioness had desired that 
none who were newly married should joust at that 

On the first day Sir Lamorak won the honor of 
the lists, for he overthrew thirty knights and did 
marvellous feats of arms. And that day King 
Arthur made Sir Persant of Inde and his two 
brothers, Knights of the Round Table, and gave 
them great lands. 

On the second day Sir Tristram jousted best, and 
overthrew forty knights. And on that day the 
king made Sir Ironside, the Red Knight of the 
Red Lawns, a Knight of the Round Table, and gave 
him great lands. 

On the third day the prize of valor fell to Sir 
Lancelot, who overthrew fifty knights and did such 
marvellous deeds that all men wondered at him. 
And now King Arthur made the Duke de la Rowse 
a Knight of the Round Table, and gave him great 
lands to spend. 


Thus ended the festivities at the marriage of Sir 
Gareth of Orkney and the Lady Lioness. But 
Gareth and his lovely bride lived long and happily 
together afterwards, and much knightly renown 
he won, and great honor from all men. 






SAD .was the day when the renowned knight, 
Tristram of Lyonesse, was born, for on that day 
his mother died, and his father lay in prison through 
the arts of an enchantress. Therefore he was 
called Tristram, which signifies one of a sorrowful 

It happened that when he was seven years of 
age his father, King Meliodas, of the country of 
Lyonesse, married again. His first wife had been 
Elizabeth, sister of King Mark of Cornwall. He 
now married the daughter of King Ho well of Brit- 
tany, a woman who proved of evil soul. 

For after the new queen had children of her 
own she grew to hate the boy who stood between 
her son and the throne of Lyonesse, and so bitter 
grew her hatred that in the end she laid a foul 
plot for his murder. She put poison in a silver 
cup in the chamber where the young princes were 
used to play together, with the hope that Tristram 
when thirsty would drink from that cup. But fate 
so willed that the queen's own son drank of the 



poisoned cup, when thirsty from play, and died 
of it. 

This fatal error filled the queen with deep an- 
guish, but it added doubly to her hate, and with 
murderous intent she again put the poisoned cup 
into the chamber. But God protected the boy, for 
this time King Meliodas, being thirsty, saw the 
envenomed cup of wine, and took it up with purpose 
to drink Before he could do so the queen, who 
was near by, ran hastily forward, snatched the 
deadly cup from his hand, and threw its contents 
on the floor. 

This hasty act filled the king with suspicion, for 
the sudden death of his young son had seemed to 
him like the work of poison. In a burst of passion 
he caught the guilty woman fiercely by the hand, 
drew his sword, and swore a mighty oath that he 
would kill her on the spot, unless she told him 
what had been in the cup and why it was put there. 

At this threat the queen, trembling and weeping 
with fright, acknowledged that it had been her 
design to kill Tristram, in order that her son should 
inherit the kingdom of Lyonesse. 

<( Thou false traitress and murderess ! ' cried the 
king in redoubled passion. " By my royal soul, you 
shall have the fate you designed for my son. A 
worse one you shall have, for YOU shall be burned 

/ *j 

at the stake as a poisoner." 

Then he called a council of his barons, who con- 
firmed this sentence on learning the dark crime 
of the queen, and by the order of the court a fire 
of execution was prepared, and the murderess bound 
to the stake, while fagots were heaped about her 
drooping form, 


The flames were already kindled, and were crawl- 
ing like deadly serpents through the dry wood, but 
before they could reach the condemned queen young 
Tristram kneeled before his father and begged him 
a boon. 

"You shall have it, my son. What would you 
ask ? ' 

" Grant me the life of the queen. I cannot bear 
to see her die so terrible a death." 

" Ask not that/' said the king. " You should 
hate her who would have poisoned you. I have 
condemned her more for your sake than my own." 

" Yet I beseech you to be merciful to her. I 
have forgiven her, and pray God to do so. You 
granted me my boon for God's love, and I hold 
you to your promise." 

" If you will have it so, I cannot withdraw my 
word," said the king. "I give her to you. Go to 
the fire and take her, and do with her what you 

This gladdened the boy's heart, which had been 
full of horror at the dreadful spectacle, and he 
hastened to release the victim from the flames. 

But after that Meliodas would have nothing to 
do with her until after years had passed, when 
Tristram reconciled them with each other. And 
he sent his son from the court, being afraid the 
pardoned murderess might devise some new scheme 
for his destruction. The noble-hearted lad was 
therefore given as tutor a learned gentleman named 
Gouvernail, who took him to France, that he might 
learn the language and be taught the use of arms. 
There he remained seven years, learning not only 


the language, but the art of minstrelsy, till he 
became so skilful that few could equal him in the 
use of the harp and other instruments of music. 
And as he grew older he practised much in hunting 
and hawking, and in time became famous also for 
his skill in this noble art. He in after-life devised 
many terms used in hunting, and bugle calls of the 
chase, so that from him the book of venery, or of 
hunting and hawking, came to be called the " Book 
of Sir Tristram." 

Thus Tristram grew in accomplishments and 
nobleness till he attained the age of nineteen years, 
when he had become a youth of handsome face and 
powerful form, being large of size and vigorous of 
limb. The king, his father, had great joy in his 
promise of lusty manhood, and so had the queen, 
whose heart had been won to Tristram when he 
saved her from the flames, and who loved him ever 
afterwards as much as she had hated him in his 
childhood. Every one loved him, indeed, for he 
proved himself a noble and gentle-hearted youth, 
loyal and kind to all he met, and with a heart free 
from evil thoughts or selfish desires. 

He had learned the use of arms, and knew well 
how to wield the shield and sword, though as yet 
he had not sought knighthood by deeds of battle; 
but events were preparing that would bring him 
soon from youth to manhood. For it so happened 
that King Anguish of Ireland sent to King Mark 
of Cornwall, demanding from him tribute which 
he said was due, but had not been paid for many 
years. King Mark sent word back that he owed 
and would pay no tribute; and that if the King 



of Ireland wished to prove his claim, he must send 
a knight who could overcome King Mark's 

King Anguish was very angry at this answer, 
but accepted the challenge, and sent as his cham- 
pion Sir Marhaus, brother to his wife, that valiant 
knight who had gone with Gawaine and Uwaine 
to the country of strange adventures, and had after- 
wards been made a Knight of the Kound Table. 

Marhaus accepted the championship, and hastened 
to Cornwall, where he sent his challenge to King 
Mark ; but the latter had taken no steps to provide 
himself with a worthy champion, Marhaus there- 
upon encamped near the castle of Tintagil, whither 
he daily sent a demand to King Mark either to pay 
the tribute or to find a knight to fight his battle. 

Anxious efforts were now made by the Cornish 
monarch to find a champion, some of the barons 
advising him to send to King Arthur's court for 
Lancelot du Lake. But others dissuaded the king 
from this, saying that neither Lancelot nor any 
Knight of the Eound Table would fight against 
their fellow-knight Marhaus. Thus the King of 
Cornwall was sore put to it to find a champion fit 
to hold the field against such a knight as Marhaus. 

Word of this soon spread over the country and 
quickly reached the castle of Meliodas, to which 
young Tristram had long before returned. The 
heart of the ardent youth filled with anger when 
he learned that not a knight could be found in all 
Cornwall able and willing to do battle with the 
Irish champion. 

In fervent haste he sought his father, and asked 


him what was to be done to save Cornwall from 
this disgrace. 

" I know not/' answered the king. " Marhaus 
is one of the best knights of the Round Table, 
and there is no knight in this country fit to cope 
with him." 

" I wish heartily that I were a knight," cried 
Tristram hotly. " If I were, Sir Marhaus should 


never depart to Ireland and boast that all Cornwall 
could not furnish a knight, ready to break a spear 
with him. I pray you, dear father, to let me ride 
to King Mark's court, and beg of him to make 
me a knight and choose me as his champion." 

" Your spirit honors you, my son," said Meliodas. 
" You have it in you to become an able knight, 
and I give you full leave to do as your courage 
prompts you." 

Tristram thanked his father warmly for this 
assent, and, taking horse, rode without delay to the 
castle of his uncle King Mark. When he reached 
there he found the king depressed in spirit and 
the whole court deep in gloom, for it seemed as if 
no champion could be found, and that the tribute 
must be paid. Tristram went at once to his uncle 
and said with modest ardor, 

" Sir, it is a shame and disgrace that Cornwall 
has no champion. I am but an untried youth, yet, 
if you will give me the order of knighthood, I 
stand ready to do battle for you with Sir Marhaus." 

" Who are you, and whence come you ? ' asked 
the king. 

"I come from King Meliodas, who wedded your 
sister, and I am a gentleman born." 


Hope came into the king's eyes when he saw 
how large and strongly built was his youthful 
visitor, and marked the spirit of battle in his eyes, 
but he again demanded his name and place of birth. 

" My name is Tristram and I was born in the 
country of Lyonesse," answered the youth. 

" You speak with spirit, and look like the making 
of a good warrior," said the king. " If you agree 
to do this battle, I will grant you knighthood/' 

" It is that, and that alone, brings me here," 
answered Tristram. 

Then the king knighted him, and at once sent 
word to Sir Marhaus that he had a champion ready 
to do battle with him to the uttermost. 

" That may well be," answered Marhaus, " but 
I fight not with every springal. Tell King Mark 
that I shall fight with none but one of royal blood. 
His champion must be son either of a king or a 

This answer King Mark gave to Tristram, and 
said, gloomily, 

" I fear this rules out your championship." 

" Not so," said Tristram. " I came not here to 
boast, but if I must tell my lineage, you may let 
him know that I am of as noble blood as he. My 
father is King Meliodas, and my mother was Eliza- 
beth, your own sister. I am the heir of Lyonesse." 

" Is it so ? ? cried the king, clasping the youth's 
hands gladly. " Then I bid you warmly welcome, 
my fair nephew, and I could ask no better nor 
nobler champion." 

He sent word in all haste to Marhaus that a better 
born man than himself should fight with him, the 


son of King Meliodas, and his own nephew. And 
while he waited an answer he took care to find for 
his nephew the best horse and the finest suit of 
armor that gold could procure. By the time he 
was thus provided word came back from Marhaus 
that he would be glad and blithe to fight with a 
gentleman of such noble birth. And he requested 
that the combat should take place in an island near 
which lay his ships. This being accepted, Tristram 
was sent thither in a vessel, with his horse and 
armor, but attended only by his tutor Gouvernail, 
whom he now made his squire. 

On reaching the island Tristram saw on the 
further shore six ships, but he saw no knight. 
Then he bade Gouvernail to bring his horse ashore 
and arm him. This done, he mounted and took 
his shield, and then said, 

" Where is this knight with whom I have to 
fight ? I see him not." 

" Yonder he hovers/' answered Gouvernail, 
"under the shadow of the ships. He waits you 
on horseback, and fully armed/' 

" True enough. I see him now. All is well. 
Do you take the vessel and go back to my uncle 
Mark, and tell him that if I be slain it will not 
be through cowardice, and pray him, if I die in 
fair fight, to see that I be interred honorably; but 
if I should prove recreant then he shall give me 
no Christian burial. And come you not near the 
island, on your life, till you see me overcome or 
slain, or till I give you the signal of victory/' 

Then Gouvernail departed, weeping, for his young 
master had spoken so resolutely that he dared not 


disobey. Tristram now rode boldly towards Sir 
Marhaus, who came forward to meet him. Much 
courteous conversation passed between the two 
knights, Tristram at the end saying, 

" I trust, Sir Marhaus, to win honor and renown 
from you, and to deliver Cornwall from tribute 
forever, and to this end I shall do my best in all 
valor and honor/' 

" Fair sir," answered Marhaus, " your spirit 
pleases me; but as for gaining honor from me, you 
will lose none if you keep back three strokes beyond 
my reach, for King Arthur made me not Knight 
of the Round Table except for good cause." 

" That may well be," answered Tristram ; " but 
if I show the white feather in my first battle may 
I never bear arms again." 

Then they put their spears in rest and rode so 
furiously together that both were hurled to the 
earth, horse and man alike. But Tristram had 
the ill fortune to receive a severe wound in the 
side from the spear of his adversary. 

Heedless of this, he drew his sword and met 
Marhaus boldly and bravely. Then they began a 
fierce and desperate fight, striking and foining, 
rushing togther in furious onset, and drawing back 
in cautious heed, while the ring of sword on armor 
was like that of hammer on anvil. Hours passed 
in the fight, and the blood flowed freely from the 
wounds which each had received, yet still they stood 
boldly up to the combat. But Tristram proved a 
stronger and better-winded man than Marhaus, and 
was still fresh when his enemy was growing weary 
and faint. At the end he threw all his strength 


into his right arm, and smote Marhaus so mighty 
a blow on the helm that it cut down through the 
steel covering and deep into his head, the sword 
sticking so fast that Tristram could hardly pull 
it out. 

When he did so the edge of the sword was left in 
the skull, and the wounded knight fell heavily on 
his knees. But in a minute he rose and, flinging 
his sword and shield away, fled hastily to his ships. 

" Why do you withdraw, Knight of the Round 
Table ? ' cried Tristram. " I am but a young 
knight, but before I would fly from an adversary 
I would abide to be cut into a thousand pieces." 

Marhaus answered only with deep groans of pain 
and distress. 

" Go thy way then, sir knight/' said Tristram. 
" I promise you your sword and shield shall be 
mine, and I will w T ear your shield in the sight of 
King Arthur and all the Round Table, to let them 
see that Cornwall is not a land of cowards." 

While he stood thus, hot with anger, the sails 
of the ships were spread, and the fleet sailed away, 
leaving the victor alone on 11. 3 island. He was 
deeply wounded and had bled profusely, and when 
he grew cold from rest could hardly move his limbs. 
So he seated himself upon a little hillock, while his 
wounds still bled freely. But Gouvernail, who had 
kept within sight in the vessel, and had seen the end 
of the combat, now hastened gladly to the island, 
where he bound up the young knight's wounds, and 
then brought him to the main land. Here King 
Mark and his barons came in procession to meet 
him, their hearts full of joy and triumph, and the 


victor was borne in glad procession to the castle 
of Tintagil. When King Mark saw his deep and 
perilous wounds he wept heartily, and cried, 

" God help me, I would not for all my lands that 
my nephew should die ! ' 

But Tristram lay in groaning pain for more than 
a month, ever in danger of death from the spear- 
wound he had received from Sir Marhaus. For the 
spear-head was poisoned, and no leech in the land, 
with his most healing remedy, could overcome the 
deadly effect of that venom. The king sent far 
and wide for skilled doctors, but none could be 
found whose skill was of any avail. At length there 
came a learned woman to the court, who told them 
plainly that the wounded man could never be cured 
except in the country from which the venom came. 
He might be helped there, but nowhere else. 

When King Mark heard this he had a good vessel 
prepared, in which Tristram was placed, under 
charge of Gouvernail, and so set sail for Ireland, 
though all were strictly warned not to tell who they 
were or whence they came. 

Long before this the fleet of Marhaus had arrived 
on the Irish coast, and the wounded knight been 
borne to the king's court, where all was done that 
could be to save his life, but in vain. 

He died soon of his deep wound, and when his 
head was examined by the surgeons they found 
therein a piece of Tristram's sword, which had 
sunk deep into his skull. This piece the queen, his 
sister, kept, for she was full of revengeful thoughts, 
and she hoped by its aid to find the man to whom 
he owed his death. 




WHEN Tristram arrived in Ireland, chance so 
provided that he landed near a castle in which the 
king and queen, with all their court, then were. 
He had brought his harp with him, and on his 
arrival sat up in his bed and played a merry lay, 
which gave joy to all that heard it. 

Word was quickly brought to the king that a 
harper of wonderful skill had reached his shores, 
and he at once sent to have him brought to the 
castle, where he asked him his name and whence 
he came. 

" My name," replied the wounded knight, " is 
Tramtrist; I am of the country of Lyonesse, and 
the wound from which I suffer was received in a 
battle I fought for a lady who had been wronged." 

" You shall have all the help here we can give 
you," said King Anguish. " I have just met with 
a sad loss myself, for the best knight in my kingdom 
has been slain." 

Then he told Tristram of the battle with King 
Mark's champion, little dreaming that the knight 
to whom he spoke knew far more about it than 
he did himself. 

" As for your wound," said the king, " my 
daughter, La Belle Isolde, is a leech of wonderful 
skill, and as you seem so worthy a man I shall put 
you under her care." 


This said, lie departed, and sent his daughter to 
the knight; but no sooner did Tristram behold 
her than he received a deeper wound from love than 
he had } r et had from sword or spear. For La Belle 
Isolde was the most beautiful lady in the world, 
a maiden of such w r ondrous charm and grace that 
no land held her equal. 

When she examined the young knight's wound 
she quickly saw that he was suffering from poison, 
but it was a venom with which she knew well how 
to deal, and she was not long in healing his deep 
hurt. In return for this great service, he taught 
her the art of harping, while the love he felt for 
her soon left some reflection of its warm presence 
in her soul. 

But she already had a lover in the court, a worthy 
and valiant Saracen knight named Palamides, who 
sought her day after day, and made her many gifts, 
for his love for her was deep. He was well esteemed 
by the king and queen, and had declared his willing- 
ness to be made a Christian for the sake of La Belle 
Isolde. In consequence there soon arose hot blood 
between Tristram and Palamides, for each feared 
that the other was a favored rival. 

And now it happened that King Anguish an- 
nounced a tournament to be held in honor of a 
cousin of his called the Lady of the Lawns, it being 
declared that the grand prize of the tournament 
should be the hand of the lady and the lordship 
of her lands. The report of this tournament spread 
through England, Wales, and Scotland, reaching 
even to Brittany, and France, and many knights 
came to try their fortune in the lists. 





When the dav drew near the fair Isolde told 


Tristram of the tournament, and expressed a warm 
desire that he would take part in it. 

" Fair lady/ he answered. " I am as vet but 

V J \S 

feeble, and only for your generous care might be 
dead. I should be glad to obey any wish of yours, 
but you know that I am not in condition for the 

" Ah, Tramtrist," she replied, " I trust that you 
may be able to take part in this friendly joust. 
Palamides will be there, and I hoped that you 
would meet him, for I fear that otherwise he will 
not find his equal." 

" You do me great honor," he replied. " You 
forget that I am but a young knight, and that in 
the only battle I have fought I was wounded nearly 
unto death. But for the love I have for you I shall 
attend the tournament, and jeopard my poor per- 
son for vour sake, if vou will onlv keep mv counsel 

tf - */ j, / 

and let no person know that I have entered the 

" That shall I," she replied, gladly. " Horse and 
armor shall be readv for vou, and I but ask vou 

if 9f S .' 

to do your best. I am sure your best must win." 

" With Isolde's eyes upon me I can do no less," 
answered Tristram, with a glad heart. " I am at 
your command in all things, and for your love 
would dare tenfold this risk." 

When the day of the tournament came, Pala- 
mides appeared in the lists with a black shield, 
and so manv knights fell before him that all the 

/ GJ 

people marvelled at his prowess. Throughout the 
first day's fight he held his own against all comers, 


bearing off the honors of the lists. As for Tris- 
tram, he sat among the spectators, and when King 
Anguish asked him why he did not joust, replied 
that he was still too weak from his wound. 

On the morning of the next day Palamides came 
early into the field, and began the same career of 
conquest as on the day before. But in the midst 
of his good fortune there rode into the lists an 
unknown knight, who seemed to the spectators like 
an angel, for his horse and his armor were of the 
whiteness of snow. 

No sooner had Palamides espied this stranger 
than he put his spear in rest and rode against him 
at furious speed. But there came a sudden change 
in his fortunes, for the white knight struck him 
with such force as to hurl him from his horse to the 

Then there arose a great noise and uproar among 
the people, for they had grown to think that no 
knight could face the Saracen, and Gawaine and 
others whom he had overthrown marvelled who this 
stranger knight could be. But Isolde was glad 
at heart, for the love of Palamides was a burden 
to her, and well she knew the knight of the white 

As for the Palamides, he was so ashamed and dis- 
concerted by his fall that, on mounting his horse 
again, he sought privately to withdraw from the 
field. But the white knight rode hastily after him 
and bade him turn, saying that he should not leave 
the lists so lightly. At these words Palamides 
turned and struck a fierce sword-blow at the white 
champion. But the latter put the stroke aside, 



and returned it with so mighty a buffet on the 
Saracen's head that he fell from his horse to the 

Then Tristram for he was the white knight 
bade him yield and consent to do his command, or 


he would slay him. To this Palamides agreed, for 
he was hurt past defence. 

This, then, is my command/ 7 said Tristram. 
First, upon pain of your life, you shall cease your 
suit of the lady La Belle Isolde, and come not near 
her. Second, for a year and a day you shall wear 
no armor or weapons of war. Promise me this, or 
you shall die." 

" This is a bitter penance," cried Palamides. 
" You shame me before the world. For nothing less 
than life would I consent." 

But he took the oath as Tristram commanded, 
and then in anger and despite threw off his armor 
and cut it into pieces, flinging the fragments away. 
Then he departed, weighed down with sadness and 

This done, Tristram left the lists, where he could 
find no knight willing to fight with him, and rode 
to the private postern of the castle whence he had 
come to the field. Here he found the fair Isolde 
awaiting him with a joyous face and a voice of 
thanks, praising him so highly that the knight was 
abashed with modest shame, though gladness filled 
his heart. And when she had told the king and 
queen that it was Tramtrist who had vanquished 
the Saracen, they treated him as if he had been 
of royal blood, for he had shown such prowess as 
Lancelot himself could not exceed. 


After this Tristram dwelt long in the castle, 
highly esteemed by the king and queen, and loved 
by La Belle Isolde, whose heart he had fully won 
by his prowess in the tournament. Those were days 
of joy and gladness, too soon, alas to end, for he 
loved her with all his soul, and saw his heaven in 
her eyes, while for all his love she gave him the 
warm devotion of a true heart in return. 

But fate at length brought this dream of happi- 
ness to an end. For on a day when Tristram was 
in the bath, attended by his squire Gouvernail, 
chance brought the queen and Isolde into the cham- 
ber of the knight. On the bed lay his sword, and 
this the queen picked up and held it out for Isolde's 
admiration, as the blade which had done such noble 
work in the tournament. 

But as she held it so she saw that there was a 
gap in the edge, a piece being broken out about a 
foot from the point. At sight of this she let the 
weapon fall, while her heart gave a great bound of 
pain and anger. 

" Liar and traitor, have I found you at last ! ' 
she cried, in an outbreak of rage. " It is this false 
villain that slew my brother Marhaus ! ' 

With these words she ran in haste from the 
chamber, leaving Isolde trembling with dread for 
her lover, for though she knew not the cause of the 
queen's rage, she knew well how cruel she could be 
in her passion. 

Quickly the queen returned, bringing with her 
the fragment of steel that had been found in 
Marhaus's skull, and, snatching up the sword, she 
fitted this into the broken place. It fitted so 


closely that the blade seemed whole. Then with 
a cry of passionate rage the furious woman ran to 
where Tristram was in the bath, and would have 
run him through had not Gouvernail caught her 
in his arms and wrested the sword from her hand. 

Failing in this deadly intent, she tore herself 
from the squire's grasp and flew to the king, throw- 
ing herself on her knees before him and crying, 

" Oh, my lord and husband ! you have here in 
your house that murderous wretch who killed my 
brother, the noble Sir Marhaus ! 3 

" Ha ! can that be ? ' said the king. " Where is 

" It is Tramtrist," she replied. " It is that vil- 
lanous knight whom our daughter healed, and who 
has shamefully abused our hospitality." And she 
told him bv what stransre chance she had made this 



" Alas ! ' said the king, " what you tell me grieves 
me to the heart. I never saw a nobler knight than 
he, and I would give my crown not to have learned 
this. I charge you to leave him to me. I will deal 
with him as honor and justice demand." 

Then the king sought Tristram in his chamber, 
and found him there fully armed and ready to 
mount his horse. 

" So, Tramtrist, you are ready for the field," he 
said. " I tell you this, that it will not avail you 
to match your strength against my power. But 
I honor you for your nobility and prowess, and it 
would shame me to slay my guest in my court; 
therefore, I will let you depart in safety, on con- 
dition that you tell me your name and that of your 


father, and if it was truly you that slew my brother, 
Sir Marhaus." 

"Truly it was so/' said Tristram. "But what 
I did was done in honor and justice, as you well 
know. He came as a champion and defied all the 
knights of Cornwall to battle, and I fought him 
for the honor of Cornwall. It was my first battle, 
for I was made a knight that very day. And no 
man living can say that I struck him foully." 

" I doubt me not that you acted in all knightly 
honor," answered the king. " But you cannot stay 
in my country against the ill-will of my barons, 
my wife, and her kindred." 

" As for who I am," continued the knight, " my 
father is King Meliodas of Lyonesse, and my uncle 
King Mark of Cornwall. My name is Tristram; 
but when I was sent to your country to be cured 
of my wound I called myself Tramtrist, for I 
feared your anger. I thank you deeply for the kind 
welcome you have given me, and the goodness my 
lady, your daughter, has shown me. It may happen 
that you will win more by my life than by my 
death, for in England I may yet do you some 
knightly service. This I promise you, as I am 
a true knight, that in all places I shall hold myself 
the servant and knight of my lady, your daughter, 
and shall never fail to do in her honor and service 
all that a knight may. Also I beseech you that I 
may take leave of your barons and knights, and pray 
you to grant me leave to bid adieu to your daughter." 

" I cannot well refuse you this," said the king. 

With this permission, Tristram sought La Belle 
Isolde, and sadly bade her farewell, telling her who 


he was, why he had changed his name, and for what 
purpose he had come to Ireland. 

" Had it not been for your care and skill I should 
now have been dead," he said. 

" Gentle sir/' she sadly replied, " I am woeful 
indeed that you should go, for I never saw man to 
whom I felt such good-will as to you." 

And she wept bitterly as she held out her hand in 
adieu. But Tristram took her in his arms and 
kissed away her tears. 

" I love you, Isolde, as my soul," he said. " If 
this despite of fate shall stand between you and 
me, this I promise, to be your knight while life is 
left to me." 

" And this I promise," answered Isolde, " that 
if I am married within these seven years it shall 
only be by your assent ! If they stand between me 
and my love, at least they shall not force me to 
wed against your will." 

Then she gave Tristram a ring and received one 
from him in return, and he departed from her with 
a pain as if the parting wrenched their hearts 
asunder, while she beheld him go with such tears 
and lamentation that it seemed as if her faithful 
heart would break. 

Tristram next sought the great hall of the court, 
where were assembled the barons of King Anguish, 
and took his leave of them all, saying, 

" Fair lords, fortune wills that I must leave you. 
If there be any man here whom I have offended 
or aggrieved let him make complaint now, and I 
shall amend the wrong so far as it is in my power. 
If there be any who may incline to say a wrongful 



thing of me behind my back, let him speak now, 
and I will make it good with him, body against 

But no man spoke in reply. There were knights 
there of the blood of Sir Marhaus and the queen, 
but none that cared to have to do in the field against 
Sir Tristram. 

So bidding them all adieu, he departed, and took 
ship for Tintagil, in Cornwall. 



WHEN tidings came to King Mark that Tristram 
had returned to Cornwall, cured of his wounds, 
the king and all his barons were glad, and on the 
arrival of the knight he was treated with the great- 
est honor. No long time passed before he rode 
to the castle of his father, King Meliodas, who 
received him with fatherly love and pride, while 
the queen greeted him with the warmest joy. And 
that their knightly son should have wherewithal 
to make a fair show in the world, they parted with 
much of their lands and wealth to him, endowing 
him with broad estates and lordly castles. 

Afterwards, at his father's desire, who wished his 
son to gain all honor, Tristram returned to the 
court of Cornwall, where he was gladly wel- 
comed. And here, though his love for La Belle 









Isolde lay deep in his heart, it was dimmed by 
later feelings, for there were many fair ladies at 
the court, and the young knight was at that age 
when the heart is soft and tender. 

In the end it happened that a jealousy and un- 
friendliness arose between King Mark and him. 
This grew with time, and in the end the king, who 
was base and treacherous of soul, waylaid Tris- 
tram, aided by two knights of his counsel, and 
sought to slay him. But so valiantly did he defend 
himself that he hurled the three to the earth, 
wounding the king so deeply that he was long in 

The king now grew to hate his young guest bit- 
terly, and laid plans to destroy him. Finally, it 
occurred to him to send Tristram to Ireland for 
La Belle Isolde, whose beauty and goodness the 
young knight had praised so warmly that King 
Mark had it in his heart to wed her. But his main 
purpose in sending Tristram to Ireland was to com- 
pass his destruction, for he knew how he was hated 

Tristram was not blind to the danger into which 
this mission might bring him, and suspected the 
purpose of the king, but his love of adventure was 
so great that for it he was ready to dare any risk. 

As for Isolde, absence and affection for other 
ladies had dimmed his passion for her, so that for 
the time his love was forgotten, and he came to 
look upon it as a youthful episode not knowing 
how deeply it still lay under all these later feelings. 
He, therefore, accepted the mission, and made ready 
to go in royal state. 


He selected for his companions a number of the 
ablest knights of the court, and saw that they were 
richly arrayed and appointed, with the hope that 
such a noble train might win him favor at the Irish 
court. With this array he departed,, and set sail 
for the coast of Ireland. 

But when they had reached the mid-channel a 
tempest arose that blew the fleet back towards the 
coast of England, and, as chance had it, they came 
ashore near Camelot. Here they were forced to 
land, for their ships were no longer seaworthy. 
Tristram, therefore, set up his pavilion upon the 
coast of Camelot, and hung his shield before it. 

That same day two knights of Arthur's court, 
Sir Morganor and Sir Hector de Maris, chanced 
to ride that way, and, seeing the shield, they touched 
it with their spears, bidding the knight of the pavil- 
ion to come out and joust, if he had an inclination 
to do so. 

"I hold myself ready alike for sport or battle/' 
answered Tristram. " If vou tarrv a little while, 

/ .' 

you will find me ready to meet you/' 

This said, he armed himself, and mounting his 
horse rode against his two challengers with such 
fortune that he first smote Sir Hector to the earth, 
and then Sir Morganor, felling them both with one 
spear. Eising painfully to their feet, the discon- 
certed knights asked Tristram who he was and of 
what country. 

" My noble sirs, I am a knight of Cornwall,'' he 
answered. " You have been in the habit of scorning 
the warriors of my country, but vou see we have 

/ v ' */ 

some good blood there." 


" A Cornish knight ! " cried Hector. " That I 
should be overcome bv a knight from that land ! 

J O 

I am not fit to wear armor more." And in despite 
he put off his armor and left the place on foot, too 
full of shame to ride. 

As it turned out, fortune had worked more favor- 
ably for Tristram than he supposed. For King 
Anguish was then on his way to Camelot, whither 
he had been summoned by King Arthur as his 
vassal, for a purpose which he was not told. 

It happened that when he reached Camelot 
neither King Arthur nor Lancelot was there to 


give judgment on the charge against him, but the 
kings of Carados and of Scotland were left as judges. 
And when King Anguish demanded why he had 
been summoned, Blamor de Ganis, a Knight of 
the Round Table, accused him of treason, declaring 
that he had treacherouslv slain a cousin of his at 


his court in Ireland. 

This accusation threw King Anguish into great 
trouble, for he did not dream that he had been 
brought for such a purpose, and knew well that 
there was but one answer to make to such a charge. 
For the custom in those davs was that anv man 

s *.' 

who was accused of murder or treason should decide 
the case by the Wager of Battle, fighting his accuser 
to the death, or finding a knight who would take 
up his quarrel. And murders of all kinds in 
those days were called treason. 

King Anguish was thrown into a sorrowful frame 
of mind, for he knew that Blamor de Ganis was a 
knight of prowess beyond his own strength, nor had 
he a suitable champion in his train. He therefore 


withheld his answer, and the judges gave him three 
days for his decision. 

All this was told to Tristram by his squire 
Gouvernail, who had heard it from people of the 

" Truly," said Tristram, " no man in England 
could bring me better tidings, for the king of Ire- 
land will be glad of my aid, since no knight of this 
country not of Arthur's court will dare fight with 
Blamor. As I wish to win the good will of King 
Anguish, I will take on myself his battle. So, 
Gouvernail, go to the king for me, and tell him 
there is a champion ready to assume his cause/' 

Gouvernail thereupon went to Camelot, and 
greeted King Anguish, who returned his greeting 
and asked his errand. 

" There is a knight near at hand who desires to 
speak with you/' was the reply. " He bade me say 
that he was ready to do you knightly service/' 

" What knight may he be ? ' asked the king. 

" Sir, it is Tristram of Lyonesse. For the grace 
you showed him in your country he is ready to 
repay you here, and to take the field as your 

" God be praised for this welcome news ! ' cried 
the king. " Come, good fellow, show me the way 
to Sir Tristram. Blamor will find he has no boy 
to handle/' 

He mounted a hackney, and with few followers 
rode under Gouvernail's guidance till they came to 
Tristram's pavilion. The knight, when he saw his 
visitor, ran to him and would have held his stirrup, 
but this the king would not permit. He leaped 


lightly from his horse and took Tristram warmly 
in his arms. 

" My gracious lord," said Tristram, " I have not 
forgot the goodness which you formerly showed 
me, and which at that time I promised to requite 
by knightly service if it should ever be in my 

" I have great need of you, indeed, gentle sir," 
answered the king. " Never before was I in such 
deep necessity of knightly aid." 

" How so, my noble lord ? ' asked Tristram. 

" I shall tell you. I am held answerable for the 
death of a knight who was akin to Lancelot, and 
for which I must fight his relative, Blamor de Ganis, 
or find a knight in my stead. And well you know 
the knights of King Ban's blood are hard men to 
overcome in battle." 

" That may be," said Tristram, " yet I dread not 
to meet them. For the honor which you showed 
me in Ireland, and for the sake of your gracious 
daughter La Belle Isolde, I will take the battle 
on two conditions: first, that you swear that you 
are in the right, and had no hand in the knight's 
death ; second, that if I win in this fight you grant 
me the reward I may ask, if you deem it reason- 

" Truly, I am innocent, and you shall have what- 
ever you ask," said the king. 

" Then I accept the combat," said Tristram. 
" You may return to Camelot and make answer that 
your champion is ready, for I shall die in your 
quarrel rather than be recreant. Blamor is said 
to be a hardy knight, but I would meet him were 


he the best warrior that now bears shield and 

King Anguish then departed and told the judges 
that he had his champion ready, and was prepared 
for the wager of battle at any time that pleased 
them. In consequence, Blamor and Tristram were 
sent for to hear the charge. But when the knights 
of the court learned that the champion was he who 
had vanquished Marhaus and Palamides, there was 
much debate and shaking of the head, and many 
who had felt sure of the issue now grew full of 
doubt, the more so when they learned the story 
of Hector de Maris and his companion. 

But the combatants took their charge in all due 
dignity, and then withdrew to make ready for the 
battle. Blamor was attended by his brother Sir 
Bleoberis, who said to him, feelingly, 

" Remember, dear brother, of what kin we are, 
being cousins to Lancelot du Lake, and that there 
has never been a man of our blood but would rather 
die than be shamed in battle." 

" Have no doubt of me," answered Blamor. " I 
know well this knight's record; but if he should 
strike me down through his great might, he shall 
slay me before I will yield as recreant." 

" You will find him the strongest knight you 
have ever had to do with. I know that well, for 
I had once a bout with him at King Mark's court. 
So God speed you ! ' 

"In God and my cause I trust," answered 

Then he took his horse and rode to one end of 
the lists, and Tristram to the other, where, putting 


their spears in rest, they spurred their gallant steeds 
and rushed together with the speed of lightning. 
The result was that Blamor and his horse together 
were hurled to the earth, while Tristram kept his 
seat. Then Blamor drew his sword and threw his 
shield before him, bidding Tristram to alight. 

" Though a horse has failed me," he said, " I 
trust that the earth will stand me in good stead/' 

Without hesitation Tristram consented, springing 
to the ground, sword in hand, and the combatants 
broke at once into fierce battle, fighting like mad- 
men, till all who saw them marvelled at their cour- 
age and strength. Xever had knights been seen 
to fight more fiercely, for Blamor was so furious 
and incessant in his attacks, and Tristram so active 
in his defence, that it was a wonder they had breath 


to stand. But at last Tristram smote his antagonist 
such a blow on the helm that he fell upon his side, 
while his victor stood looking grimly down upon 

When Blamor could gain breath to speak, he 

" Sir Tristram de Lyonesse, I require thee, as 
thou art a true knight, to slay me, for I would 
not live in shame, though I might be lord of the 
earth. You must slay me, indeed, if you would 
win the field, for I shall never speak the hateful 
word of surrender." 

When Tristram heard this knightly defiance he 
knew not what to do. The thought of slaying 
one of Lancelot's blood hurt him sorelv, but his 

/ - / 

duty as a champion required him to force his 
antagonist to yield, or else to slay him. In deep 


distress of mind he went to the kingly judges and 
kneeled before them, beseeching them for the sake 
of King Arthur and Lancelot, and for their own 
credit, to take this matter out of his hands. 

" It were a pity and shame that the noble knight 
who lies yonder should be slain," he said, " yet he 
refuses to yield. As for the king I fight for, I shall 
require him, as I am his true knight and champion, 
to have mercy on the vanquished." 

" That yield I freely," said King Anguish. 
" And I heartily pray the judges to deal with him 

Then the judges called Bleoberis to them and 
asked his advice. 

" My lords," he replied, " my brother is beaten, 
I acknowledge, yet, though Sir Tristram has van- 
quished his body, he has not conquered his heart, 
and I thank God he is not shamed by his defeat. 
And rather than he should be shamed I require 
you to bid Tristram to slay him." 

" That shall not be," replied the judges. " Both 
his adversaries, the king and his champion, have 
pity on him, and you should have no less." 

" I leave his fate to you," said Bleoberis. " Do 
what seems to you well." 

Then, after further consultation, the judges gave 
their verdict that the vanquished knight should live, 
and by their advice Tristram and Bleoberis took 
him up and brought him to King Anguish, who 
forgave and made friends with him. Then Blamor 
and Tristram kissed each other and the two brothers 
took oath that neither of them would ever fight with 
their noble antagonist, who took the same oath. 


And from the day of that battle there was peace 
and love between Tristram and all the kindred of 
Lancelot forever. 

The happy close of this contest made great re- 
joicing in Arthur's court, King Anguish and his 
champion being treated with all the honor that could 
be laid upon them, and for many days thereafter 
feasting and merry-making prevailed. In the end 
the king and his champion sailed for Ireland with 
great state and ceremony, while many noble knights 
attended to bid them farewell. 

When they reached Ireland, King Anguish spread 
far and wide the story of what Tristram had done 
for him, and he was everywhere greeted with honor 
and delight. Even the queen forgot her anger, and 
did all that lay in her power to give her lord's 
champion a glad welcome to the court. 

As for La Belle Isolde, she met Tristram with the 
greatest joy and gladness. Absence had dimmed 
the love in both their hearts, and it no longer 
burned as of yore, yet only time and opportunity 
were needed to make it as warm as ever. 



AT length there came a day, after Tristram had 
dwelt long at King Anguish's court, that the king 
asked him why he had not demanded his boon, 


since the royal word had been passed that whatever 
he asked should be his without fail. 

" I asked you not," said Tristram, " since it is a 
boon that will give me no pleasure, but so much 
pain that with every day that passes I grow less 
inclined to ask it." 

" Then why ask it at all ? " 

" That I must, for I have passed my word of 
honor, and the word of a knight is his best posses- 
sion. What I am forced to demand, then, is that 
you will give me the hand of La Belle Isolde, 
not for mvself, and that is what makes mv heart so 

*/ */ 

sore, but for my uncle, King Mark, who desires 
to wed her, and for whom I have promised to 
demand her." 

" Alas ! ' cried the king, " that you should ask 
me so despiteful a boon. I had rather than all 
King Mark's dominions that you should wed her 

" I never saw woman whom I would rather wed," 
he replied. " But if I should do so I would be the 
shame of the world forever, as a false knight, 
recreant to his promise. Therefore, I must stand 
by my word, and hold you to your boon, that you 
will give me La Belle Isolde to go with me to 
Cornwall, there to be wedded to King Mark, my 

" As for that, I cannot deny you. She shall go 
with you, but as to what may happen thereafter, 
I leave that for you to decide. If vou choose to 

/ tV 

wed her yourself, that will give me the greatest 
joy. But if you determine to give her to King 
Mark, the right rests with you. I have passed 
my word, though I wish now that I had not." 



Then Isolde was told of what had passed, and 
bade to make ready to go with Tristram, a lady 
named Bragwaine going with her as chief gentle- 
woman, while many others were selected as her 
attendants. When the preparations were fully 
made, the queen, Isolde's mother, gave to Dame 
Bragwaine and Gouvernail a golden flask contain- 
ing a drink, and charged them that on the day of 
Isolde's wedding they should give King Mark that 
drink, bidding him to quaff it to the health of La 
Belle Isolde, and her to quaff his health in return. 

It is a love draught," continued the queen, 
and if they shall drink it I undertake to say that 
each shall love the other for all the days of their 

Not many days passed before Tristram took to 
the sea, with the fair maiden who had been com- 
mitted to his charge, and they sailed away on a 
mission that had for them both far more of sadness 
than of joy, for their love grew as the miles passed. 

One day, as they sat together in the cabin, it 
happened that they became thirsty, and by chance 
they saw on a shelf near them a little golden flask, 
filled with what by the color seemed to be a noble 
wine. Tristram took it down and said, with a 

" Madam Isolde, here is the best drink that ever 
you drank, a precious draught which Dame Brag- 
waine, your maiden, and Gouvernail, my servant, 
are keeping for themselves. Let us drink from 
their private store." 

Then with laughter and merriment they drank 
freely from the flask, and both thought that they 


had never tasted draught so sweet and delicious 
in their lives before. But when the magic wine 
got into their blood, they looked upon each other 
with new eyes, for their hearts were suddenly 
filled with such passionate love as they had not 
dreamed that heart could feel. Tristram thought 
that never had mortal eyes gazed upon a maiden 
of such heavenlv charms, and Isolde that there 


was never man born so grand and graceful as the 
knight of her love. 

Then all at once she fell into bitter weeping as 
the thought of her destiny came upon her, and 
Tristram took her in his arms and kissed her sweet 
lips again and again, speaking words of love that 
brought some comfort to her love-sick heart. And 
thus it was between them day by day to the end of 
their voyage, for a love had grown between them 
of such fervent depth that it could never leave 
them while blood flowed in their veins. 

Such magic power had the draught which the 
queen had prepared for King Mark, and which 
the unthinking lovers drank in fate's strange error. 
It was the bitter-sweet of love; for it was destined 
to bring them the deepest joy and sorrow in the 
years to come. 

Many days passed before the lovers reached Corn- 
wall, and strange adventures met them by the way, 
of which we have but little space to speak. For 
chance brought them to land near a castle named 
Pleure, or the weeping castle. It was the custom 
of the lord of that castle, when any knight passed 
by with a lady, to take them prisoners. Then, when 
the knight's lady was compared with the lady of the 


castle, whichever was the least lovely of the two 
was put to death, and the knight was made to fight 
with the lord of the castle for the other, and was 
put to death if vanquished. Through this cruel 
custom many a noble knight and fair lady had been 
slain, for the castle lord was of great prowess and 
his lady of striking beauty. 

It chanced that Tristram and Isolde demanded 
shelter at this castle, and that they were made 
prisoners under its cruel custom. At this outrage 
Tristram grew bitterly indignant, and demanded 
passionately what it meant, as honor demanded that 
those who sought harbor should be received hos- 
pitably as guests, and not despitefully as prisoners. 
In answer he was told the custom of the castle, and 
that he must fight for his lady and his liberty. 

" It is a foul and shameful custom," he replied. 
"I do not fear that your lord's lady will surpass 
mine in beauty, nor that I cannot hold my own 
in the field, but I like to have a voice in my own 
doings. Tell him, however, if he is so hot for 
battle, that I shall be ready for the test to-morrow 
morning, and may heaven be on the side of truth 
and justice." 

When morning came the test of beauty was made, 
and the loveliness of Isolde shone so far beyond that 
of the castle lady that Breunor, the lord, was forced 
to admit it. And now Tristram grew stern and 
pitiless, for he said that this lady had consented 
to the death of many innocent rivals, and richly 
deserved death as a punishment for the ruthless 
deeds done in her behalf, and to gratify her cruel 
vanity. Thereupon her head was struck off without 


Full of anger at this, Breunor attacked Tristram 
with all his strength and fury, and a long and fiery 
combat took place, yet in the end he fell dead 
beneath the sword of the knight of Cornwall. 

But, as it happened, the castle lord had a valiant 
son, named Sir Galahad the high prince, a knight 
who in after years was to do deeds of great emprise. 
Word was brought to him of the death of his father 


and mother, and he rode in all haste to the castle, 
having with him that renowned warrior known as 
the king with the hundred knights. 

Beaching the castle, Galahad fiercely challenged 
Tristram to battle, and a mighty combat ensued. 
But at the last Galahad was forced to give way 
before the deadly strokes of his antagonist, whose 
strength seemed to grow with his labor. 

When the king with the hundred knights saw 
this, he rushed upon Tristram with many of his 
followers, attacking him in such force as no single 
knight could hope to endure. 

" This is no knierhtlv deed," cried Tristram to 

*_ . 

Galahad. " I deemed you a noble knight, but it 
is a shameful act to let all your men set on me at 

" However that be," said Galahad. " vou have 


done me a rreat wronsr, and must Yield or die.'' 

c_^ . 

" Then I must yield, since you treat me so 
unfairly. I accepted your challenge, not that of all 
your followers. To yield thus puts me to no dis- 

And he took his sword by the point and put the 
pommel in the hand of his opponent. But despite 
this, action the king and his knights came on, and 
made a second attack on the unarmed warrior. 





' Let him be," cried Sir Galahad. ' I have given 
him his life, and no man shall harm him." 

" Shame is it in you to say so ! ' cried the king. 
" Has he not slain your father and mother ? ' 

"For that I cannot blame him greatly. My 
father held him in prison, and forced him to fight 
to the death. The custom was a wicked and cruel 
one, and could have but one end. Long ago, it 
drove me from my father's castle, for I could not 
favor it by any presence." 

" It was a sinful custom, truly," said the king. 

" So I deem it, and it would be a pity that this 
brave knight should die in such a cause, for I know 
no one save Lancelot du Lake who is his equal. 
Now, fair knight, will you tell me your name ? ' 

" My name is Tristram of Lyonesse, and I am 
on my way to the court of King Mark of Cornwall, 
taking to him La Belle Isolde, the daughter of 
King Anguish of Ireland, whom he desires to wed." 

" Then you are welcome to these marches, and 
all that I demand of you is that you promise to go 
to Lancelot du Lake, and become his fellow. I shall 
promise that no such custom shall ever be used in 
this castle again." 

" You will do well," said Tristram. " I would 
have you know that when I began to fight with 
you I fancied you were Lancelot. And I promise, 
as soon as I may, to seek him, for of all the knights 
in the world I most desire his fellowship." 

Soon afterwards Tristram and his fair companion 
resumed their journey, and in due time reached 
Cornwall. But as they came near Tintagil their 
hearts were ready to break, for that magic draught 



was still in their veins, and they loved each other 
with a love that was past all telling. 

Thoughts came into Tristram's heart to marry the 
maiden in despite of custom and his plighted word, 
and gladly would she have consented thereto. But 
strong as was his love, his honor was stronger, and 
Isolde, deeply as she grieved, could not ask him to 
break his word. And thus for many long miles 
they journeyed onward side by side in silence, their 
eyes alone speaking, but they telling a story of love 
and grief to which they dared not give words, lest 
their hearts' desire should burst all boundaries 
of faith and honor, and men's condemnation come 
to them both. 

So they came with drooping hearts to the court 
of King Mark, where the king and his barons 
received them with state and ceremony. Quickly 
thereafter the wedding took place, for the king 
looked with eyes of warm approval upon the beau- 
tiful maiden, and prepared richly and nobly for the 
ceremony, at which many noble knights and lords 
were present, but from which Tristram withdrew 
in the deepest anguish, as he could not endure the 
sight. And so his knightly word was kept, though 
to keep it almost broke his heart. 




THE marriage of King Mark with La Belle Isolde 
was celebrated with rich feasts and royal tourna- 
ments, and for many days pleasure ruled supreme 
at Tintagil Castle, whither noble guests came and 
went. Among those who came was Palamides the 
Saracen, drawn thither by his love of Isolde, which 
his overthrow by Tristram had not banished from 
his heart. 

Strange events soon followed. Two ladies of 
Isolde's train, who envied and hated Dame Brag- 
waine, laid a plot for her destruction. She was 
sent into the forest to obtain herbs, and there was 
met by men sent by her enemies, who bound her 
hand and foot to a tree, where she remained for 
three days. By good fortune, at the end of that 
time, she was found by Palamides, who saved her 
from death, and took her to a nunnery that she 
might recover from her pain and exhaustion. 

The disappearance of Dame Bragwaine troubled 
the queen greatly, for she loved her most of all 
women, and as the days went by and she returned 
not, the grief of Isolde grew deep. She wandered 
into the forest, which had been searched in vain for 
the lost lady, and, plunged in sad thought, seated 
herself by a woodland spring, where she moaned 
bitterly for her favorite. 

As she sat there Palamides appeared, and, after 
listening awhile to her sad complaining, said, 


" Queen Isolde, I know well the cause of your 
grief, and if you will grant the boon I shall ask, 
I promise to bring you Dame Bragwaine, safe and 

The queen was so glad to hear this, that without 
thought she agreed to grant his wish, thinking more 
of the lost lady than of what he might demand. 

" I trust to your promise," said Palamides. ee Re- 
main here half an hour and you shall see her." 

" I shall remain," said the queen. 

Palamides then rode away, and within the time 
mentioned returned with the maiden, whom Isolde 
clasped to her heart with happy tears. 

" Now, madam, I have kept my word," said 
Palamides ; " you must keep yours." 

" I promised you hastily," answered the queen ; 
" and I warn you now that I will grant you nothing 
evil; so beware of your asking." 

" My boon will keep till I meet you before the 
king," said Palamides. " What it is I shall not 
tell vou now." 


Then the queen rode home with her maiden, and 
Palamides followed close after, entering the court 
while Isolde was telling the king of what had 

" Sir king," said the knight, " your lady has told 
you of the boon she proffered me. The honor of 
knighthood requires that you shall make her word 

" Why made you this promise, my lady ? ' asked 
the king. 

" I did so for grief at the loss of Dame Brag- 
waine, and for joy to recover her." 


" Then what you have hastily proffered yon must 
truly perform. The word of king and queen is not 
to he lightly spoken or lightly broken." 

" What I demand is this/' said Palamides, " that 
you deliver to me your queen, to lead her where 
I wish and govern her as I will." 

At this bold request the king frowned deeply, 
and anger leaped to his lips. But his word had 
been passed, and the thought came to him that he 
could trust to Tristram quickly to rescue the queen, 
and punish this bold adventurer. 

" Take her if you will," he cried. " But I tell 
you this, you will not keep her long, and that you 
are asking a dangerous gift." 

"As for that, I shall dare the risk." 

Then he took Isolde by the hand, and led her 

/ s 

from the court, and from the presence of the king 
and his barons, not one of whom moved, though 
the queen looked round with suppliant eyes. Lead- 
ing her to his war-horse, he set her behind him on 
the saddle, and rode proudly away. 

No sooner had they gone than the king sent for 
Tristram, but by despite he was nowhere to be 
found, for he was in the forest hunting, as was 
always his custom when not engaged in feats of 

" What shall be done ? " cried the king. " Can 
no one find Tristram ? My honor will be shamed 
if the Saracen be not met and overcome." 

" I shall follow him, and seek to rescue th? 
queen," said a knight named Lambegus, one of 
Tristram's followers. 

"I thank you, Sir Lambegus. If I live, I will 
remember the service." 


So Lambegus got to horse and followed Pala- 
mides hotly, but to his own sorrow, as it proved, 
for he was no match for the Saracen, who soon 
laid him upon the earth wounded nearly to death. 

But while the battle went on, Isolde, who had 
been set upon the earth pending the combat, ran 
into the forest, and continued to flv till she came 

f \i 

to a deep spring, where in her grief she sought 
to drown herself. But good fortune brought thither 
a knight named Sir Adtherp, who had a castle 
near by. Seeing the despair of the queen, he led 
her to his castle, and then, learning her story, took 
upon himself her battle, and rode forth to meet the 

But he, too, fared badly, for Palamides wounded 
him severely, and made him tell what he had done 

v J 

with the queen, and where his castle might be found. 

Palamides, leaving him bleeding on the ground, 
rode in all haste to the castle. But as he 
approached, Isolde saw him from a window, and 
gave orders that the gate should be shut and the 
drawbridge raised. When Palamides came up and 
saw that the castle was closed against him, and 
entrance denied, he took the saddle and bridle 
from his horse and put him to pasture, while he 
seated himself before the gate like a man who cared 
not what became of him. 

Meanwhile, Tristram had returned from the hunt, 
and when he learned what had happened, he was 
half beside himself with anger. 

" Lambegus is no match for the Saracen," he 
said. " Would I had been here in his stead. The 
unchristianed villain shall answer for this outrage 
if he can be found." 


. Then he armed himself in all haste, and rode 
into the forest. Not far had he gone when he found 
Lambegus, sorely wounded, and had him borne to 
a place of shelter. Somewhat farther on he found 
Adtherp, also hurt and bleeding, and from him 
he learned what had taken place. 

" Where is my lady now ? ' he asked. 

" Safe in my castle," said the knight. " And 
there she can hold herself secure against the 

" Then I owe you much," said Tristram. " Trust 
me to see that some of your men be sent to your 

He continued his journey till he came to the 
castle, and here he saw Palamides sitting by the 
gate fast asleep, with his horse grazing beside him. 

" The misbegotten rogue takes life easy," said 
Tristram. " Go rouse him, Gouvernail. Bid him 
make ready to answer for his outrage." 

But he was in such deep slumber that Gouvernail 
called to him in vain. He returned and told Tris- 
tram that the knight was either asleep or mad. 

" Go again and tell him that I, his mortal foe, 
am here." 

Gouvernail now prodded him with the butt of 
his spear, and cried, 

" Arise, Sir Palamides, and make ready, for 
yonder is Sir Tristram, and he sends you word that 
he is your mortal foe." 

Then Palamides rose without a word of answer, 
and saddled and bridled his horse, upon which he 
sprang, putting his spear in rest. But he remained 
not long in his saddle, for when they met in mid 


career, Tristram smote him so hard a blow as to 
thrust him over his horse's tail to the ground. 

Then they drew their swords and fought with all 
their strength, for the lady whom they both loved 
looked upon them from the walls, and well-nigh 
swooned for grief and distress on seeing how sorely 
each was hurt. 

" Alas ! ' she cried, " one of them I love, and the 
other loves me. It would be a great pity to see Sir 
Palamides slain, much as he has troubled me, and 
slain he will be if this fight goes on." 

Then, moved by her tender heart, she went down 
and besought Tristram to fight no more. 

" What mean you ? ' he asked. " Would you 
have me shamed ? ' 

" I desire not your dishonor ; but for my sake I 
would have you spare this unhappy knight, whose 
love for me has made him mad." 

" As you wish," he replied. " The fight shall 
end, since you desire it." 

" As for you, Sir Palamides," she said, " I com- 
mand that you shall go out of this country while 
I am in it." 

" If it must be, it must," he answered, in bitter 
anguish ; " but it is sorely against my will, for not 
to see you is not to live." 

" Take your way to the court of King Arthur," 
she said, " and there recommend me to Queen Guen- 
ever. Tell her that Isolde says that in all the 
land there are but four lovers, and that these are 
Lancelot du Lake and Queen Guenever, and Tris- 
tram de Lyonesse and Queen Isolde." 

This message filled Palamides with the greatest 


heaviness of heart, and mounting his steed he rode 
away moaning bitterly. But Isolde was full of 
gladness in being well rid of her troublesome lover, 
and Tristram in having rescued her from his rival. 
So he brought her back to King Mark, and there was 
great joy over her home-coming, while the king and 
all the court showered honors on the successful 
champion. Sir Lambegus was brought back to the 
court and put under the care of skilful leeches, and 
for a long time joy and good- will reigned. 

But Tristram had in King Mark's court a bitter 
foe, who sought to work him injury, though he was 
his near cousin. This traitor, Sir Andred by name, 
knew well of the love between Tristram and Isolde, 
and that they had secret meetings and tender con- 
versations, so he lay in wait to spy upon them and 
slander them before the court. 

A day came at length when Andred observed Tris- 
tram in secret parley with Isolde at a window, and 
he hastened to the king and poisoned his mind with 
a false report of what he had seen. King Mark, on 
hearing this, burst into a fury of passion, and seiz- 
ing a sword, ran to where Tristram stood. Here 
he violently berated him as a traitor, and struck 
at him a furious blow. 

But Tristram took the sword-point under his arm, 
and ran in on the king, wresting the weapon from 
his hand. 

" Where are my knights and men ?" cried the 
enraged king. " I charge you to kill this traitor ! ? 

But of those present not a man w r ould move. 
When Tristram saw this, he shook the sword threat- 
ingly against the king, and took a step forward as 


if he would have slain him. At this movement 
King Mark fled, while Tristram followed, and 
struck him so strong a blow with the flat of the 
sword on his neck that he was flung prostrate on 
his nose. Then Tristram hastened to his room and 
armed himself, after which he took his horse and his 
squire and rode into the forest. 

Here the valorous champion killed some of the 
knights whom the king had sent against him and 
put to flight thirty more, so that King Mark in fear 
and fury called a council of his lords, and asked 
what was to be done with his rebellious subject. 

" Our counsel is," said the barons, " that you 
send for Sir Tristram and make friends with him, 
for you well know that if you push him hard many 
of your men will join him. He is peerless and 
matchless among Christian knights except Sir Lan- 
celot, and if you drive him to seek King Arthur's 
court he will find such friends there that he may 
defy your power. Therefore we counsel you to beg 
him to return to the court, under assurance of 

" You may send for him, then," said the king, 
though his heart burned with secret fury. The 
barons now sent for Tristram under a safe-conduct, 
and he returned to the court, where he was wel- 
comed by the king, and all that had passed seemed 
to be forgotten. 

Shortly after this the king and queen went hunt- 
ing, accompanied by Tristram and many knights 
and gentlemen of the court. Entering the forest, 
they set up their pavilions and tents beside a river, 
where they hunted and jousted daily, for King 


Mark had with him thirty knights who stood ready 
to meet all comers. 

Fortune brought thither two knights-errant, one 
being Lamorak de Galis, who of all knights was 
counted next to Lancelot and Tristram. The other 
was Sir Driant, both being Knights of the Round 

Driant jousted first with the Cornish knights, 
and, after unhorsing some of them, got a stunning 
fall. Then Lamorak offered to meet them, and 
of the thirty knights not one kept his seat before 
him, while some were sorely hurt. 

" What knight is this who fights so well ? " asked 
the king. 

" Sir," said Tristram, " it is Lamorak de , Galis, 
one of the best knights who ever put spear in rest." 

" Then, Sir Tristram, you must meet him. It 
were a shame to us all to let him go away victor." 

" It were a greater shame to overthrow a noble 
knight when he and his horse are worn out with 

" He shall not leave here and boast of how he 
vanquished King Mark's knights. I charge you, 
as you love me and my lady La Belle Isolde, to 
take your arms and joust with this Lamorak." 

" You charge me to do what is against knight- 
hood, for it is no honor for a fresh man and horse 
to master spent and weary ones. Since you com- 
mand it I must do it, but it is sorely against my 

Then he armed himself and took his horse, and 
in the joust easily overthrew Lamorak and his 
weary steed. The knight lightly sprang from the 


falling charger and drew his sword, boldly challeng- 
ing Tristram to meet him on foot. But this Tris- 
tram would by no means do, though Lamorak hotly 
renewed the challenge. 

" You are great of heart, Sir Lamorak," said 
Tristram, " but no knight nor horse was ever made 
that could forever endure. Therefore I will not 
meet you, and I am sorry for having jousted with 

" You have done me an evil turn," said Lamo- 
rak, angrily, " for which I shall repay you when 
an opportunity comes." 

Lamorak soon got his revenge. For as he rode 
with Sir Driant towards Camelot he met by the 
way a boy who had been sent by Morgan le Fay 
to King Arthur. For the false enchantress still 
held to her hatred against her noble brother, and 
by all means sought his harm. So by magic 
art she had made a drinking-horn of such strange 
virtue that if any lady drank of it who had been 
false to her husband all the wine would be spilled, 
but if she had been true to him, she might drink 
in peace and safety. 

This horn she sent to Arthur's court, hoping that 
Guenever might drink thereof and be dishonored, 
for her love for Lancelot was known to all but the 

Lamorak, learning from the boy his errand, bade 
him bear the horn to King Mark's court, and tell 
the king that it was sent to prove the falseness of 
his ladv, who loved Sir Tristram more than she 

J s 

did her wedded lord. 

Soon afterwards, therefore, the boy appeared 


at Tintagil Castle, and presented King Mark the 
magic horn, telling him of its virtues, and all that 
Sir Lamorak had bidden him say. 

" By my royal faith we shall try it, then ! ' said 
the king. " Xot only my queen, but all the ladies 
of the court, shall drink of it, and we shall learn 
who among them has other lovers than their liege 

Much to their unwillingness, Queen Isolde and 
a hundred ladies of the c urt were made to drink 
from the magic horn, and of them all only four 
drank without spilling the wine. 

" Xow, by my knightly honor, all these false 
dames shall be burnt ! ' cried the king. " My court 
shall be purged of this vile stain." 

"That shall they not," cried the barons. "We 

/ f 

shall never consent that the queen and all these 
ladies shall be destroyed for a horn wrought by 
sorcery, and sent here to make mischief by as foul 
a sorceress and witch as the earth holds. She has 
always been an enemy to all true lovers and sought 
to do them harm, and if we meet with Morgan le 
Fay she will get but scant courtesy at our hands. 
We would much rather believe the horn false than 
all our ladies untrue." 

But Tristram's anger was turned towards La- 
morak for this affront, for he knew well what had 
been his purpose. And he vowed in his heart that 
he would yet repay him for this treacherous act. 

His affection for Queen Isolde kept as warm as 
though the love-draught still flowed in his veins, 
and he sought her at every opportunity, for the 
two greatest joys that life held for him were to 


tell her of his love and hear from her lips that 
her love for him had never dimmed. 

But his treacherous cousin Andred watched his 
every movement,, and kept the king advised that 
Tristram continued his secret interviews with the 
queen. So an ambush of twelve knights was set, 
and one day, when Tristram had just paid a stolen 
visit to the queen, and sat in loving converse by 
her side, these ambushed knights broke suddenly 
upon him, took him prisoner, and bound him hand 
and foot. 

Then, by order of the king, he was borne to a 
chapel that stood on a rocky height above the 
sea, where Andred and some others of the barons 
who were his enemies came together to pass judg- 
ment upon him. 

Tristram in all his life had never stood in such 
peril, for his hands were bound fast to two knights, 
and forty others surrounded him, every one a foe. 
Care had been taken to get rid of his friends among 
the barons by sending them away from the court on 
various pretexts. Like a lion surrounded by jackals 
he chafed in his bonds, while his great heart swelled 
as if it would break. No escape seemed possible, 
but with a reproachful voice he said, 

" Fair lords, I have in my time done something 
for Cornwall, and taken upon myself great peril 
for your benefit. Who among you all was ready 
to meet Sir Marhaus, or to cope with Palamides? 
Is this shameful death my reward for my services 
to your country ? You know well that I never met 
a knight but that I was his match or his better." 

" Boast not, false traitor," cried Andred. " For 
all thy vaunting, thou shalt die this day." 


" Andred, Andred, that you my kinsman should 
treat me thus ! ' said Tristram sorrowfully. " You 
can be bold when I am bound, but if there were none 
here but you and me, you would crouch like a cur 
at my feet/' 

" Would I so ? ' cried Andred, angrily. " You 
shall see what I would do." 

And as he spoke he drew his sword, and advanced 
upon his cousin with intent to slay him on the 
spot. But Tristram, when he say him coming with 
murderous looks, suddenly drew inwards with all 
his strength the two knights to whom he was bound, 
and with a mighty wrench broke the strong cords 
asunder. Then with the leap of a tiger he sprang 
upon his treacherous cousin, wrested the sword from 
his hand, and smote him a blow that hurled him 
insensible to the earth. This done, he rushed with 
the fury of a madman on his enemies, striking 
mighty blows to right and left, till in a few minutes 
ten of them lay dead and wounded on the earth. 

But seeing that they were pressing on him in too 
great force, he retreated into the chapel, in whose 
door-way he stood, sword in hand, holding it against 
all their assaults. 

Soon, however, the cry went forth that the pris- 
oner had escaped, and had felled Andred and killed 
many of the barons, and others of his foes hastened 
up, till more than a hundred beleagured him in the 

Tristram now looked despairingly on his unarmed 
form, and saw that many of his assailants wore 
armor of proof. Death was sure unless he could 
find some means of escape. He knew that the 


chapel stood on the brow of the cliff, and here 
seemed his only hope of safety, though it was a 
perilous one. Quickly retreating, he shut and 
barred the door, and then with hand and sword 
wrenched and tore the iron bars from a window 
over the cliff, out of which he desperately leaped. 

The descent was a deep one, but he fortunately 
reached the sea below without striking any of the 
rocks in his descent. Here he drew himself into 
a crevice at the foot of the cliff. 

Those above rushed to the rocky edge and looked 
down into the boiling waters far below, but they 
saw nothing of the daring knight, and after a long 
and vain effort to see him, went away to report to 
the king that his enemy was drowned. 

But while King Mark and Tristram's enemies 
were congratulating one another upon this, there 
came to the top of the cliff, Gouvernail, Lambegus, 
and others of Tristram's men, who, looking down, 
saw him creeping up from the water to a safer 
place of shelter among the rocks. Hailing him, 
they bade him to be of good heart, and, letting down 
a rope which they quickly procured, they managed 
to draw him up to the summit, where they con- 
gratulated him warmly on his escape. Without 
delay, however, he left that spot, for fear of his foes 
returning, and sought a place of shelter in the 

Here he abode for some time, but the news of 
his escape got abroad, to the discomfiture of his 
foes. And on a day when he had fallen asleep, a 
man to whom he had done some injury crept up 
and shot him in the shoulder with an arrow. Tris- 










TH E 1 s 





tram sprang up and killed the man, but the wound 
pained him day by day. And on news of it being 
brought to La Belle Isolde she sent him word by 
Dame Bragwaine that the arrow had been poisoned, 
and with a venom that no leech in England could 
cure. " My lady, La Belle Isolde, bids you haste 
into Brittany to King Howell," said Dame Brag- 
waine, " for she knows no one who can help you but 
his daughter, Isolde la Blanche Mains." 

Hearing this, the wounded knight sent a sad fare- 
well to his lady love, and took ship with Gouver- 
nail his squire, and sailed to Brittany, where he was 
warmly welcomed by King Howell. 

And when Isolde of the white hands heard of 
the errand of the knight, she applied to his wound 
healing herbs of such virtue that in a little while he 
was whole again. 

Afterwards Tristram dwelt long in Brittany, and 
helped King Howell much in his wars. 



OF the visit of Sir Tristram to Brittany, and 
the healing of his wound, with the great deeds he 
did there, and how he overthrew the giant knight 
Nabon le Noire, we shall not further speak. Let- 
ters at length came to him from La Belle Isolde, in 
which she spoke pitifully of tales that had been 



brought her, saying that he had been false to her, 
and had married Isolde the White Handed, daughter 
of King Howell of Brittany. 

On receiving these letters, Tristram set out in 
all haste for Cornwall, bringing with him Kehydius, 
King HowelPs son. On his way there he had many 
adventures, and rescued King Arthur from an en- 
chantress, who had brought him near to death in the 
forest perilous. When at length he came to Corn- 
wall he sought the castle of Dinas the seneschal, 
his warmest friend, and sent him to tell Queen 
Isolde that he had secretly returned. 

At this longed-for news the queen swooned from 
pure joy. When she recovered and was able to 
speak, she said, in pitiful accents, 

" Gentle seneschal, I pray you bring him where 
I may speak with him, or my heart will break." 

" Trust me for that," answered Dinas. 

Then he and Dame Bragwaine brought Tristram 
and Kehydius privately to the court, and to a cham- 
ber which Isolde had assigned for them. But to 
tell the joy of the meeting between Tristram and 
La Belle Isolde we shall not endeavor, for no tongue 
could tell it, nor heart think it, nor pen write it. 

Yet misfortune still pursued these true lovers, 
and this time it came from friends instead of foes, 
for the presence of Kehydius in the castle led to 
the most doleful and melancholy misfortune which 
the world ever knew. For, as the chronicles make 
mention, no sooner had Kehvdius seen La Belle 


Isolde, than he became so enamoured of her that 
his heart might never more be free. And at last, 
as we are told, he died from pure love of this beauti- 


ful queen, but with that we are not here concerned. 
But privately he wrote her letters which were full 
of moving tales of his love, and composed love 
poems to her which no minstrel of those days might 

All these he managed to put into the queen's 
hands privately, and at length, when she saw how 
deeply he was enamoured, she was moved by such 
pity for his hopeless love that, out of the pure 
kindness of her heart, she unwisely wrote him a 
letter, seeking to comfort him in his distress. 

Sad was it that pity should bring such sorrow 
and pain to two loving hearts as came from that 
fatal letter. For on a day when King Mark sat 
playing chess at a chamber window, it chanced 
that La Belle Isolde and Kehydius were in the 
chamber above, where they awaited the coming of 
Tristram from the turret-room in which he was 
secretlv accommodated. But as ill luck would 

i/ 1 

have it, there fell into Tristram's hands the last 
letter which Kehydius had written to the queen, and 
her answer, which was so worded that it seemed as 
is she returned his love. 

These the young lover had carelessly left in Tris- 
tram's chamber, where he found them and thought- 
lessly began reading them. But not far had he read 
when his heart sank deep in woe, and then leaped 
high in anger. He hurried in all haste to the 
chamber where Isolde and Kehydius were, the let- 
ters in his hand. 

" Isolde," he cried, pitifully, " what mean these 
letters, this which Kehydius has written you, and 
this, your answer, with its vile tale of love ? Alas ! 


is this my repayment for the love I have lavished 
on you, that you thus treacherously desert me for 
the viper that I have brought hither? As for you, 
Kehydius, you have foully repaid my trust in you 
and all my services. But bear you well in mind 
that I shall be amply revenged for your falsehood 
and treason." 

Then he drew his sword with such a fierce and 
threatening countenance that Isolde swooned out 
of pure fear; and Kehydius, when he saw him 
advancing wdth murder in his face, saw but one 
chance for life, and leaped out of a bay window 
immediately over that where King Mark sat playing 
at chess. 

When the king saw the body of a man hurtling 
down over his head, so close that he almost touched 
him as he sat at the window, he sprang up in 
alarm and cried, 

" What the foul fiend is this ? Who are you, 
fellow? and where in the wide world have you 
come from ? ' 

Kehydius, who had fallen on his feet, answered 
the king with ready wit. 

" My lord, the king," he said, " blame me not, 
for I fell in my sleep. I was seated in the window 
above you, and slumbered there, and you see what 
has come of it." 

" The next time you are sleepy, good fellow, 
hunt a safer couch," laughed the king, and turned 
again to his chess. 

But Tristram was sure that his presence in the 
castle would now be known to the king, and hast- 
ened to arm himself with such armor as he could 


find, in dread of an assault in force. But as no one 
came against him, he sent Gouvernail for his horse 
and spear, and rode in knightly guise openly from 
the gates of Tintagil. 

At the gate it chanced that he met with Gingalin, 
the son of Gawaine, who had just arrived ; and the 
young knight, being full of ardor, and having a 
fancy to tilt with a Cornish warrior, put his spear 
in rest and rode against Tristram, breaking his 
spear on him. 

Tristram had yet no spear, but he drew his sword 
and put all his grief and anger into the blow he 
gave the bold young knight. So hard he struck 
that Gingalin was flung from his saddle, and the 
sword, slipping down, cut through the horse's neck, 
leaving the knight with a headless charger. 

Then Tristram rode on until he disappeared in 
the forest. All this was seen by King Mark, who 
sent a squire to the hurt knight and asked him 
who he was. When he knew it was Sir Gingalin, 
he welcomed him, and proffered him another horse, 
asking what knight it was he had encountered. 

" That I know not/' said Gingalin, " but he has 
a mighty wrist, whoever he is. And he sighed and 
moaned as if some great disaster had happened 
him. I shall beware of weeping knights hereafter, 
if they all strike like this." 


As Tristram rode on he met Sir Fergus, one of 
his own knights, but by this time his grief and pain 
of heart had grown so bitter that he fell from his 
horse in a swoon, and lay thus for three days and 

When at length he came to himself, he sent 


Fergus, who had remained with him, to the court, to 
bring him what tidings he might learn. As Fergus 
rode forward he met a damsel whom Palamides 
had sent to inquire about Sir Tristram. Fergus 
told her how he had met him, and that he was 
almost out of his mind. 

"Where shall I find him? ? asked the damsel. 

" In such a place," explained Fergus, and rode 
on to the court, where he learned that Queen Isolde 
was sick in bed, moaning pitifully, though no one 
knew the source of her pain. 

The damsel meanwhile sought Tristram, whom 
she found in such grief as she had never before 
seen, and the more she tried to console him the 
more he moaned and bewailed. At the last he took 
his horse and rode deeply into the forest, as if he 
would be away from all human company. 

The damsel now sought him diligently, but it 
was three days before she could find him, in a 
miserable woodland hut. Here she brought him 
meat and drink, but he would eat nothing, and 
seemed as if he wished to starve himself. 

A few days afterwards he fled from her again, 
and on this occasion it chanced that lie rode bv 


the castle before which he and Palamides had 
fought for La Belle Isolde. Here the damsel found 
'him again, moaning dismally, and quite beside 
himself with grief. In despair what to do, she 
went to the ladv of the castle and told her of the 


misfortune of the knight. 

" It grieves me to learn this," said the lady. 
"Where is he?" 

" Here, near by your castle." 


" I am glad he is so near. He shall have meat 
and drink of the best, and a harp which I have of 
his, and on which he taught me to play. For in 
harping he has no peer in the world." 

So thev took him meat and drink, but had much 


ado to get him to eat. And during the night his 
madness so increased that he drove his horse from 
him, and unlaced his armor and threw it wildly 
away. For days afterwards he roamed like a wild 
man about the wilderness; now in a mad frenzy 
breaking boughs from the trees, and even tearing 
young trees up by the roots, and now for hours play- 
ing on the harp which the lady had given him, while 
tears flowed in rivulets from his eyes. 

Sometimes, again, when the lady knew not where 
he was, she would sit down in the wood and play 
upon the harp, which he had left hanging on a 
bough. Then Tristram would come like a tamed 
fawn and listen to her, hiding in the bushes ; and 
in the end would come out and take the harp from 
her hand and play on it himself, in mournful strains 
that brought the tears to her eyes. 

Thus for a quarter of a year the demented lover 
roamed the forest near the castle. But at length 
he wandered deeper into the wilderness, and the 
lady knew not whither he had gone. Finally, his 
clothes torn into tatters by the thorns, and he fallen 
away till he was lean as a hound, he fell into the 
fellowship of herdsmen and shepherds, who gave 
him daily a share of their food, and made him do 
servile tasks. And when he did any deed not to 
their liking they would beat him with rods. In 
the end, as they looked upon him as witless, they 


clipped his hair and beard, and made him look like 
a fool. 

To such a vile extremity had love, jealousy, and 
despair brought the brave knight Tristram de 
Lyonesse, that from being the fellow of lords and 
nobles he became the butt of churls and cowherds. 
About this time it happened that Dagonet, the fool 
and merry-maker of King Arthur, rode into Corn- 
wall with two squires, and chance brought them 
to a well in the forest which was much haunted 
by the demented knight. The weather was hot, and 
they alighted and stooped to drink at the well, 
while their horses ran loose. As they bent over the 
well in their thirst, Tristram suddenly appeared, 
and, moved by a mad freak, he seized Dagonet and 
soused him headforemost in the well, and the two 
squires after him. The dripping victims crawled 
miserably from the water, amid the mocking 
laughter of the shepherds, while Tristram ran after 
the stray horses. These being brought, he forced 
the fool and the squires to mount, soaked as they 
were, and ride away. 

But after Tristram had departed, Dagonet and 
the squires returned, and accusing the shepherds 
of having set that madman on to assail them, they 
rode upon the keepers of beasts and beat them 
shrewdly. Tristram, as it chanced, was not so 
far off but that he saw this ill-treatment of those 
who had fed him, and he ran back, pulled Dagonet 
from the saddle, and gave him a stunning fall to 
the earth. Then he wrested the sword from his 
hand and with it smote off the head of one of the 
squires, while the other fled in terror. Tristram 


followed him, brandishing the sword wildly, and 
leaping like a madman as he rushed into the forest. 

When Dagonet had recovered from his swoon, he 
rode to King Mark's court, and there told what had 
happened to him in the wildwood. 

" Let all beware," he said, " how they come near 
that forest well. For it is haunted by a naked 
madman, and that fool soused me, 'King Arthur's 
fool, and had nearly slain me." 

" That must be Sir Matto le Breune," said King 
Mark, " who lost his wit because Sir Gaheris robbed 
him of his lady." 

Meanwhile, Kehydius had been ordered out of 
Cornwall by Queen Isolde, who blamed him for 
all that had happened, and with a dolorous heart 
he obeyed. By chance he met Palamides, to whom 
the damsel had reported the sad condition of the 
insane knight, and for days they sought him to- 
gether, but in vain. 

But at Tintagil a foul scheme was laid by Andred, 
Tristram's cousin and foe, to gain possession of his 
estates. This villain got a lady to declare that she 
had nursed Tristram in a fatal illness, that he had 
died in her care, and had been buried by her near 
a forest well; and she further said that before 
his death he had left a request that King Mark 
would make Andred king of Lyonesse, of which 
country Tristram now was lord. 

On hearing these tidings, King Mark made a great 
show of grief, weeping and lamenting as if he had 
lost his best friend in the world. But when the 
news came to La Belle Isolde, so deep a weight of 
woe fell upon her that she nearly went out of her 


mind. So deeply did she grieve, indeed, that she 
vowed to destroy herself, declaring bitterly that she 
would not live if Tristram was dead. 

So she secretly got a sword and went with it into 
her garden, where she forced the hilt into a crevice 
in a plum-tree so that the naked point stood out 
breast high. Then she kneeled down and prayed 
piteously : " Sweet Lord Jesus, have pity on me, 
for I may not live after the death of Sir Tristram. 
My first love he was, and he shall be my last/' 

All this had been seen by King Mark, who had 
followed her privily, and as she rose and was about 
to cast herself on the sword he came behind and 
caught her in his arms. Then he tore the sword 
from the tree, and bore her away, struggling and 
moaning, to a strong tower, where he set guards 
upon her, bidding them to watch her closely. After 
that she lay long sick, and came nigh to the point of 

Meanwhile, Tristram ran wildly through the 
forest, with Dagonet's sword in his hand, till he 
came to a hermitage, where he lay down and slept. 
While he slumbered, the hermit, who knew of his 
madness, stole the sword from him and laid meat 
beside him. Here he remained ten days, and after- 
wards departed and returned to the herdsmen. 

And now another adventure happened. There 
was in that country a giant named Tauleas, brother 
to that Taulurd whom Sir Marhaus had killed. 
For fear of Tristram he had for seven years kept 
close in his castle, daring not to go at large and 
commit depredations as of old. But now, hearing 
the rumor that Tristram was dead, he resumed his 


old evil courses. And one day he came to where the 
herdsmen were engaged, and seated himself to rest 
among them. By chance there passed along the 
road near by a Cornish knight named Sir Dinant, 
with whom rode a lady. 

When the giant saw them coming, he left the 
herdsmen and hid himself under a tree near a 
well, deeming that the knight would stop there to 
drink. This he did, but no sooner had he sought 
the w r ell than the giant slipped from his covert and 
leaped upon the horse. Then he rode upon Sir 
Dinant, took him by the collar, and pulled him 
before him upon the horse, reaching for his dagger 
to strike off his head. 

At this moment the herdsmen called to Tris- 
tram, who had just come from the forest depths : 
" Help the knight." 

" Help him yourselves," said Tristram. 

" We dare not," they replied. 

Then Tristram ran up and seized the sword of 
the knight, which had fallen to the ground, and 
with one broad sweep struck off the head of Tauleas 
clean from the shoulders. This done he dropped 
the sword as if he had done but a trifle and went 
back to the herdsmen. 

Shortly after this, Sir Dinant appeared at Tin- 
tagil, bearing with him the giant's head, and there 
told what had happened to him and how he had 
been rescued. 

" Where had you this adventure ? ' asked the 

"At the herdsmen's fountain in the forest," said 
Dinant. " There where so many knights-errant 


meet. They say this madman haunts that spot/' 

" He cannot be Matto le Breune, as I fancied," 
said the king. " It was a man of no small might 
who made that stroke. I shall seek this wild man 

On the next day King Mark, with a following 
of knights and hunters, rode into the forest, where 
they continued their course till they came to the 
well. Lying beside it they saw a gaunt, naked 
man, with a sword beside him. Who he was they 
knew not, for madness and exposure had so changed 
Tristram's face that no one knew it. 

By the king's command he was picked up slum- 
bering and covered with mantles, and thus borne 
in a litter to Tintagil. Here they bathed and 
washed him, and gave him warm food and gentle 
care, till his madness passed away and his wits 
came back to him. But no one knew him, so much 
had he changed, while all deemed Tristram dead, 
and had no thought of him. 

Word of what had happened came to Isolde where 
she lay sick, and with a sudden whim she rose 


from her bed and bade Bragwaine come with her, 
as she had a fancy to see the forest madman. 

Asking where he was, she was told that he was 
in the garden, resting in an arbor, in a light slum- 
ber. Hither they sought him and looked down 
upon him, knowing him not. 

But as they stood there Tristram woke, and when 
he saw the queen he turned away his head, while 
tears ran from his eyes. It happened that the 
queen had with her a little brachet, which Tristram 
had given her when she first came to Cornwall, and 


which always remembered and loved its old master. 

When this little creature came near the sick man, 
she leaped upon him and licked his cheeks and 
hands, and whined about him, showing great joy 
and excitement. 

" The dog is wiser than us all," cried Dame 
Bragwaine. " She knows her master. They spoke 
falsely who said he was dead. It is Sir Tristram." 

But Isolde fell to the ground in a swoon, and lay 
there long insensible. When at length she recov- 
ered, she said, 

" My dear lord and knight, I thank God deeply 
that you still live, for the story of your death had 
nearly caused mine. Your life is in dread danger, 
for when King Mark knows you he will either 
banish or destroy you. Therefore I beg you to fly 
from this court and seek that of King Arthur where 
you are beloved. This you may trust, that at all 
times, early and late, my love for you will keep 
fresh in my heart." 

" I pray you leave me, Isolde," answered the 
knight. " It is not well that you should be seen 
here. Fear not that I will forget what you have 

Then the queen departed, but do what she would 
the brachet would not follow her, but kept with the 
sick knight. Soon afterwards King Mark visited 
him, and to his surprise the brachet sat upon the 
prostrate man and bayed at the king. 

" What does this mean ? ' he asked. 

" I can tell you," answered a knight. " That 
dog was Sir Tristram's before it was the queen's. 
The brachet is wiser than us all. It knows its 


That I cannot believe/' said the king. Tell 
me your name, my good man." 

" My name is Tristram of Lyonesse," answered 
the knight. " I am in your power. Do with me 
what you will." 

The king looked at him long and strangely, with 
anger in his eyes. 

" Truly," he said, " you had better have died 
while you were about it. It would have saved me 
the need of dealing with you as you deserve." 

Then he returned to the castle, and called his 
barons hastily to council, sternly demanding that 
the penalty of death should be adjudged against 
the knight. Happily for Tristram, the barons 
would not consent to this, and proposed instead that 
the accused knight should be banished. 

So in the end the sentence was passed that Tris- 
tram should be banished for ten years from the 


country of Cornwall, not to return under pain of 
death. To this the knight assented, taking an 
oath before the king and his barons that he would 
abide by the decision of the court. 

Many barons accompanied him to the ship in 
which he was to set sail. And as he was going, 
there arrived at Tintagil a knight of King Arthur's 
court named Dinadan, who had been sent to seek 
Sir Tristram and request him to come to Camelot. 

On being shown the banished knight, he went to 
him and told his errand. 

" You come in good season," said Tristram, " for 
to Camelot am I now bound." 

" Then I would go with you in fellowship." 

" You are right welcome, Sir Dinadan." Then 
Tristram turned to the others and said, 












r U 


" Greet King Mark from me, and all my enemies 
as well, and tell them that I shall come again in 
my own good time. I am well rewarded for all 
I have done for him, but revenge has a long life, 
as he may yet learn." 

Then he took ship and put to sea, a banished 
man. And with him went Dinadan to cheer him 
in his woe, for, of all the knights of the Round 
Table, Dinadan was the merriest soul. 





AND now it behooves us to follow the banished 
knight in his adventures, for they were many and 
various, and arduous were the labors with which 
he won his right to a seat at the Round Table. 
We have told the tale of his love and madness, and 
now must relate the marvellous exploits of his 

Hardly, indeed, had Tristram and Dinadan 
landed in Arthur's realms when they met two 
knights of his court, Hector de Maris and Bors 
de Ganis. This encounter took place upon a bridge, 
where Hector and Dinadan jousted, and Dinadan 
and his horse were overthrown. But Bors refused 
to fight with Tristram, through the contempt he 
felt for Cornish knights. Yet the honor of Corn- 
wall was soon retrieved, for Sir Bleoberis and Sir 
Driant now came up, and Bleoberis proffered to 
joust with Tristram, who quickly smote him to the 

This done, Tristram and Dinadan departed, leav- 
ing their opponents in surprise that such valor 



and might could come out of Cornwall. But not 
far had the two knights-errant gone when they 
entered a forest, where they met a damsel, who 
was in search of some noble knights to rescue Sir 
Lancelot. Morgan le Fay, who hated him bitterly 
since his escape from her castle, had laid an ambush 
of thirty knights at a point which Lancelot was 
approaching, thinking to attack him unawares 
and so slay him. 

The damsel, who had learned of this plot, had 
already met the four knights whom Tristram and 
Dinadan had encountered, and obtained their 
promise to come to the rescue. 

She now told her story of crime and treachery 
to the two wanderers, with the same request. 

" Fair damsel/' said Tristram, " you could set 
me no more welcome task. Guide me to the place 
where those dastards lie in ambush for Lancelot." 

"What would you do?' cried Dinadan. "We 
cannot match thirty knights. Two or three are 
enough for any one knight, if they be men. I hope 
you don't fancy that I will take fifteen to my 
share ! ' 

" Come, come, good comrade," said Tristram. 
" Do not show the white feather." 

" I would rather wear the white feather than the 
fool's cap," said Dinadan. "Lend me your shield 
if you will ; for I had sooner carry a Cornish shield, 
which all men say only cowards bear, than try any 
such foolhardy adventure." 

"Nay; I will keep my shield for the sake of 
her who gave it to me," answered Tristram. " But 
this I warn you, if you will not abide with me I 



shall slay you before we part, for a coward has no 
right to cumber the earth. I ask no more of you 
than to fight one knight. If your heart is too 
faint for that, then stand by and see me meet the 
whole crew." 

" Very well," said Dinadan, " you can trust me 
to look on bravely, and mayhap to do something 
to save my head from hard knocks; but I would 
give my helmet if I had not met you. Folks say 
you are cured of your mad fit, but I vow if I have 
much faith in your sound sense." 

Tristram smiled grimly at Dinadan's scolding, 
and kept on after the damsel. Not far had they 
gone before they met the thirty knights. These 
had already passed the four knights of Arthur's 
court, without a combat, and they now rode in the 
same way past Tristram and Dinadan, with no show 
of hostility. 

But Tristram was of different mettle. Turning 
towards them he cried with a voice of thunder, 
" Lo ! sir villains. I have heard of your plot to 
murder Lancelot. Turn and defend yourselves. 
Here is a knight ready to fight you all for the 
love of Lancelot du Lake ! ' 

Then, spurring his good war-steed, he rode upon 
them with the fury of a lion, slaying two with his 
spear. He then drew his mighty blade, and attacked 
them with such fierce spirit and giant strength 
that ten more soon fell dead beneath his furious 
blows. Nor did Dinadan stand and look on, as 
he had grumblingly threatened, but rode in and 
aided Tristram nobly, more than one of the villains 
falling before his blows. When, at length, the mur- 


derous crew took to flight, there were but ten of 
them alive. 

Sir Bors and his companions had seen this battle 
at a distance, but it was all over before they could 
reach the scene of fray. High was their praise of 
the valor and prowess of the victor, who, they said, 
had done such a deed as they had deemed only 
Lancelot could perform. 

They invited him with knightly warmth and 
courtesy to go with them to their lodging. 

" Many thanks, fair sirs," said Tristram, " but I 
cannot go with you/' 

" Then tell us your name, that we may remember 
it as that of one of the best of knights, and give 
you the honor which is your due." 

" Nor that either/' answered Tristram. " In 
good time you shall know my name, but not now." 

Leaving them with the dead knights, Tristram 
and Dinadan rode forward, and in time found 
themselves near a party of shepherds and herds- 
men, whom they asked if any lodging was to be had 
near by. 

" That there is," said the herdsmen, " and good 
lodging, in a castle close at hand. But it is not 
to be had for the asking. The custom of that castle 
is that no knight shall lodge there except he fight 
with two knights of the castle. But as you are 
two, you can fight your battle man for man, if you 
seek lodging there." 

" That is rough pay for a night's rest," said 
Dinadan. " Lodge where you will, I will not rest 
in that castle. I have done enough to-day to spoil 
my appetite for fighting." 


" Come, come/' said Tristram, " and you a Knight 
of the Round Table ! You cannot refuse to win 
your lodging in knightly fashion." 

" Win it you must if you want it," said the herds- 
men ; " for if you have the worse of the battle no 
lodging will you gain in these quarters, except it 
be in the wild wood." 

" Be it so, if it must," said Dinadan. " In flat 
English, I will not go to the castle." 

" Are you a man ? ' demanded Tristram, scorn- 
fully. " Come, Dinadan, I know you are no coward. 
On your knighthood, come." 

Growling in his throat, Dinadan followed his 
comrade, sorely against his will, and together they 
rode into the castle court. Here they found, as 
they had been told, two armed knights ready to 
meet them. 

To make a long story short, Tristram and Din- 
adan smote them both down, and afterwards entered 
the castle, where the best of good cheer was served 
them. But when they had disarmed, and were 
having a merr} r time at the well-filled table, word 
was brought them that two other knights, Pala- 
mides and Gaheris, had entered the gates, and 
demanded a joust according to the castle custom. 

" The foul fiend take them ! ' cried Dinadan. 
" Fight I will not ; I am here for rest." 

" We are now the lords of the castle, and must 
defend its custom," said Tristram. "Make ready, 
therefore, for fight you must." 

" Why, in the devil's name, came I here in your 
company ? ' cried Dinadan. " You will wear all 
the flesh off my bones." 


But there was nothing to do but arm themselves 
and meet the two knights in the court-yard. Of 
these Gaheris encountered Tristram, and got a fall 
for his pains; but Palamides hurled Dinadan from 
his horse. So far, then, it was fall for fall, and the 
contest could be decided only by a fight on foot. 
But Dinadan was bruised from his fall and refused 
to fight. Tristram unlaced his helmet to give him 
air, and prayed him for his aid. 

" Fight them yourself, if you will ; two such 
knights are but a morsel to you," said Dinadan. 
" As for me, I am sore wounded from our little 
skirmish with the thirty knights, and have no valor 
left in me. Sir Tristram, you are a madman yet, 
and I curse the time that ever I saw you. In all 
the world there are no two such mad freaks as 
Lancelot and you. Once I fell into fellowship with 
Lancelot as I have now with you, and what fol- 
lowed? Why, he set me a task that kept me a 
quarter of a year in bed. Defend me from such 
head-splitters, and save me from your fellowship." 

" Then if you will not fight I must face them 
both/' said Tristram. " Come forth, both of you, 
I am ready for you." 

At this challenge Palamides and Gaheris ad- 
vanced and struck at the two knights. But after 
a stroke or two at Gaheris, Dinadan withdrew from 
the fray. 

"This is not fair, two to one," said Palamides. 
" Stand aside, Gaheris, with that knight who de- 
clines to fight, and let us two finish the combat." 

Then he and Tristram fought long and fiercely, 
Tristram in the end driving him back three paces. 


At this Gaheris and Dinadan pushed between them 
and bade them cease fighting, as both had done 
enough for honor. 

" So be it/' said Tristram, " and these brave 
knights are welcome to lodge with us in the castle 
if they will." 

" With you, not with us," said Dinadan, dryly. 
" When I lodge in that devil's den may I sell my 
sword for a herring. We will be called up every 
hour of the night to fight for our bedding. And 
as for you, good friend, when I ride with you again, 
it will be when you have grown older and wiser, 
or I younger and more foolish." 

With these words he mounted his horse and rode 
in an ill-humor out of the castle gates. 

" Come, good sirs, we must after him," said Tris- 
tram, with a laugh. " He is a prime good fellow, 
if he has taken himself off in a pet; it is likely I 
gave him an overdose of fighting." 

So, asking a man of the castle to guide them to a 
lodging, they rode after Dinadan, whom they soon 
overtook, though he gave them no hearty welcome. 
Two miles farther brought them to a priory, where 
they spent the night in comfort. 

Early the next day Tristram mounted and rode 
away, leaving Dinadan at the priory, for he was too 
much bruised to mount his horse. There remained 
at the priory with him a knight named Pellinore, 
who sought earnestly to learn Tristram's name, and 
at last said angrily to Dinadan, 

" Since you will not tell me his name, I will ride 
after him and make him tell it himself, or leave 
him on the ground to repent." 


"Beware, my good sir/' said Dinadan, "or the 
repentance will be yours instead of his. No wise 
man is he who thrusts his own hand in the fire." 

" Good faith, I fear him not," said Pellinore, 
haughtily, and rode on his way. 

But he paid dearly for his hardiness, for a half- 
hour afterwards he lay on the earth with a spear 
wound in his shoulder, while Tristram rode un- 
scathed on his way. 

On the day following Tristram met with pur- 
suivants, who were spreading far and wide the 
news of a great tournament that was to be held 
between King Carados and the king of North 
Wales, at the Castle of Maidens. They were seek- 
ing for good knights to take part in that tourna- 
ment, and in particular King Carados had bidden 
them to seek Lancelot, and the king of ISTorthgalis 
to seek Tristram de Lyonesse. 

" Lancelot is not far away," said Tristram. " As 
for me, I will be there, and do my best to win honor 
in the fray." 

And so he rode away, and soon after met with 
Sir Kay and Sir Sagramore, with whom he refused 
to joust, as he wished to keep himself fresh for the 

But as Kay twitted him with being a cowardly 
knight of Cornwall, he turned on him and smote 
him from his horse. Then, to complete the tale, 
he served Sagramore with the same sauce, and 
serenely rode on his way, leaving them to heal their 
bruises with repentance. 




TRISTRAM now rode far alone through a country 
strange to him, and void of knightly adventures. 
At length, however, chance brought to him a dam- 
sel, who told him disconsolately that she sought a 
champion to cope with a villanous knight, who 
was playing the tyrant over a wide district, and 
who defied all errant knights. 

" If you would win great honor come with me," 
she said. 

" To win honor is the breath of mv life," said 


Tristram. " Lead on, fair maiden." 

Then he rode with her a matter of six miles, 
when good fortune brought them in contact with 
Sir Gawaine, who recognized the damsel as one 
of Morgan le Fay's. On seeing her with an un- 
known knight he at once surmised that there was 
some mischief afoot. 

" Fair sir," said Gawaine, " whither ride you 
with that damsel ? ' 

" Whither she may lead me," said Tristram. 
" That is all I know of the matter." 

" Then, by my good blade, you shall ride no 
farther with her, for she has a breeder of ill for 
mistress, and means you a mischief." 

He drew his sword as he spoke, and said in stern 
accents to the damsel, 

" Tell me wherefore and whither you lead this 
knight, or you shall die on the spot. I know you, 


minx, and the false-hearted witch who sends you." 

" Mercy, Sir Gawaine ! ? she cried, trembling in 
mortal fear. " Harm me not, and I will tell you 
all I know." 

" Say on, then. I crave not your worthless life, 
but will have it if you tell me not the truth." 

" Good and valiant sir," she answered, " Queen 
Morgan le Fay, my lady, has sent me and thirty 
ladies more, in search of Sir Lancelot or Sir Tris- 
tram. Whoever of us shall first meet either of 
these knights is to lead him to her castle, with a 
tale of worshipful deeds to be done and wrongs 
to be righted. But thirty knights lie in wait in a 
tower ready to sally forth and destroy them." 

" Foul shame is this," cried Gawaine, " that such 
treachery should ever be devised by a queen's 
daughter and the sister of the worshipful King 
Arthur. Sir knight, will you stand with me, and 
unmask the malice of these thirty ambushed 
rogues ? ' 

" That shall I willingly," said Tristram. " Trust 
me to do my share to punish these dogs. Not 
long since I and a fellow met with thirty of that 
lady's knights, who were in ambush for Lancelot, 
and we gave them something else to think of. If 
there be another thirty on the same vile quest, I 
am for them." 

Then they rode together towards the queen's 
castle, Gawaine with a shrewd fancy that he knew 
his Cornish companion, for he had heard the story 
of how two knights had beaten thirty. When they 
reached the castle, Gawaine called in a loud voice, 

" Queen Morgan le Fay, send out the knights 


whom you hold in ambush against Lancelot and 
Tristram. I know your treason, and will tell of it 
wherever I ride. I, Sir Gawaine, and my fellow 
here, dare your thirty knights to come out and 
meet us like men." 

" You bluster bravely, friend Gawaine," answered 
the knights. " But we well know that your pride 
and valor come from the knight who is there with 
you. Some of us have tried conclusions w T ith that 
head-splitter who wears the arms of Cornwall, and 
have had enough of him. You alone w r ould not 
keep us long in the castle, but we have no fancy 
to measure swords with him. So ride your way; 
you will get no glory here." 

In vain did Gawaine berate them as dastards 
and villains ; say what he would, not a soul of them 
would set foot beyond the walls, and in time the 
two knights rode away in a rage, cursing all cowards 
in their beards. 

For several days they rode together without 
adventure. Then they beheld a shameful sight, 
that roused their souls to anger. For they saw a 
villanous knight, known in those parts as Breuse 
Sans Pite, who chased a ladv with intent to kill 


her,, having slain her lover before. Many dastardly 
deeds of this kind had he done, yet so far had 
escaped all retribution for his crimes. 

" Let me ride alone against him," said Gawaine. 
" I know his tricks. He will stand to face one man, 
but if he sees us both, he will fly, and he always 
rides so swift a horse that none can overtake him." 

Then he rode at full speed between the lady and 
her pursuer, and cried loudly, 


' False knight and murderer, leave that lady and 
try your tricks on me." 

Sir Breuse, seeing but one, put his spear in rest 
and rode furiously against Gawaine, whom he struck 
so strong a blow that he flung him prostrate to the 
ground. Then, with deadly intent, he forced his 
horse to trample over him twenty times backward 
and forward, thinking to destroy him. But when 
Tristram saw this villany he broke from his covert 
and rushed in fury upon the murderous wretch. 

But Breuse Sans Pite had met with Tristram 
before, and knew him by his arms. Therefore he 
turned his horse and fled at full speed, hotly pur- 
sued by the furious knight. Long he chased him, 
full of thirst for revenge, but the well-horsed villain 
rode at such a pace that he left him in the distance. 
At length Tristram, despairing of overtaking him, 
and seeing an inviting forest spring, drew up his 
horse and rode thither for rest and refreshment. 

Dismounting and tying his horse to a tree, he 
washed his face and hands and took a deep and 
grateful draught of the cool water. Then laying 
himself to rest by the spring side, he fell sound 

While he lay there good fortune brought to that 
forest spring a lady who had sought him far and 
wide. This was Dame Bragwaine, the lady com- 
panion of La Belle Isolde, who bore him letters 
from the queen. She failed to recognize the sleep- 
ing knight, but at first sight knew his noble charger, 
Passe Brewel, which Tristram had ridden for years. 
So she seated herself gladly by the knight, and 
waited patiently till he awoke. Then she saluted 


him, and he her, for he failed not to recognize his 
old acquaintance. 

"What of my dear lady, La Belle Isolde?" he 
asked, eagerly. 

" She is well, and has sent me to seek you. Far 
and wide have I sought for you through the land, 
and glad enough am I to hand you the letters I 

" Not so glad as I am to receive them," said 
Tristram, joyfully, taking them from her hand 
and opening them with eager haste, while his soul 
overflowed with joy as he read Isolde's words of 
love and constancy, though with them was mingled 
many a piteous complaint. 

" Come with me, Dame Bragwaine," he said. 
" I am riding to the tournament to be held at the 
Castle of Maidens. There will I answer these let- 
ters, and to have you there, to tell the tale of my 
doings to my Lady Isolde, will give me double 
strength and valor." 

To this Dame Bragwaine willingly agreed, and 
mounting they rode till they came to the castle of 
a hospitable old knight, near where the tournament 
was to be held. Here they were given shelter and 

As they sat at supper with Sir Pellounes, their 
ancient host, he told them much of the great tour- 
nament that was at hand, among other things that 
Lancelot would be there, with thirty-two knights of 
his kindred, each of whom would bear a shield with 
the arms of Cornwall. 

In the midst of their conversation a messenger 
entered, who told Pellounes that his son, Persides 


de Bloise, had come home, whereupon the old knight 
held up his hands and thanked God, telling Tris- 
tram that he had not seen his son for two years. 

" I know him," said Tristram, " and a good and 
worthy knight he is." 

/ O 

On the next morning, when Tristram came into 
the castle hall clad in his house attire, he met with 
Persides, similarly unarmed, and they saluted each 
other courteously. 

" My father tells me that you are of Cornwall," 
said Persides. " I jousted there once before King 
Mark, and fortune helped me to overthrow ten 
knights. But Tristram de Lyonesse overthrew me 
and took my lady from me. This I have not for- 
gotten, and I will repay him for it yet." 

" You hate Sir Tristram, then ? Do you think 
that will trouble him much, and that he is not able 
to withstand your malice ? ' 

" He is a better knight than I, that I admit. 
But for all that I owe him no good will." 

As thus they stood talking at a bay window of 
the castle, they saw many knights ride by on their 
way to the tournament. Among these Tristram 
marked a strongly-built warrior mounted on a great 
black horse, and bearing a black shield. 

" What knight is that ? " he asked. " He looks 
like a strong and able one." 

" He is one of the best in the world," said Per- 
sides. " I know him well." 

" Is it Sir Lancelot ? 

" Ko, no. It is Palamides, an unchristened 
Saracen, but a noble man." 

" Palamides ! I should know him too, but his 
arms deceived me." 


As they continued to look they saw many of the 
country people salute the black knight. Some time 
afterwards a squire came to Pellounes, the lord of 
the castle, and told him that a fierce combat had 
taken place in the road some distance in advance, 
and that a knight with a black shield had smitten 
down thirteen others. He was still there, ready 
for any who might wish to meet him, and holding 
a tournament of his own in the highway. 

" On my faith, that is Palamides ! ' said Tris- 
tram. " The worthy fellow must be brimful of 
fight. Fair brother, let us cast on our cloaks and 
see the play." 

" Not I," said Persides. " Let us not go like 
courtiers there, but like men ready to withstand 
their enemies." 

" As you will. To fight or to look on is all one 
to me." 

Then they armed and rode to the spot where 
so many knights had tried their fortune before 
the tournament. When Palamides saw them ap- 
proach, he said to his squire, 

" Go to yonder knight with a green shield and 
in it a lion of gold. Tell him that I request a 
passage-at-arms with him, and that my name is 

Persides, who wore the shield thus described, did 
not hesitate to accept the challenge, and rode against 
Palamides, but quickly found himself felled to the 
earth by his powerful antagonist. Then Tristram 
made ready to avenge his comrade, but before he 
could put his spear in rest Palamides rode upon 
him like a thunderbolt, taking him at advantage, 
and hurling him over his horse's tail. 


At this Tristram sprang up in furious anger and 
sore shame, and leaped into his saddle. 

Then he sent Gouvernail to Palamides, accusing 
him of treachery, and demanding a joust on equal 

" Not so," answered Palamides. " I know that 
knight better than he fancies, and will not meet 
him now. But if he wants satisfaction he may 
have it to-morrow at the Castle of Maidens, where 
I will be ready to meet him in the lists." 

As Tristram stood fretting and fuming in wrath- 
ful spite, Dinadan, who had seen the affair, came 
up, and seeing the anger of the Cornish knight, 
restrained his inclination to jest. 

" Here it is proved," he said, " that a man can 
never be so strong but he may meet his equal. 
Never was man so wise but that his brain might 
fail him, and a passing good rider is he that never 
had a fall." 

" Let be," cried Tristram, angrily. " You are 
readier with your tongue than with your sword, 
friend Dinadan. I will revenge myself, and you 
shall see it." 

As they stood thus talking there came by them 
a likely knight, who rode soberly and heavily, 
bearing a black shield. 

" What knight is that ? ' asked Tristram. 

"It is Sir Briant of North Wales," answered 
Persides. " I know him well." 

Just behind him came a knight who bore a shield 
with the arms of Cornwall, and as he rode up he 
sent a squire to Sir Briant, whom he required 
to joust with him. 



" Let it be so, if he will have it so," said Briant. 
" Bid him make ready." 

Then they rode together, and the Welsh knight 
got a severe fall. 

What Cornish knight is this ? ' asked Tristram. 
None, as I fancy/' said Dinadan. " I warrant 
he is of King Ban's blood, which counts the noblest 
knights of the world." 

Then two other knights came up and challenged 
him with the Cornish shield, and in a trice he smote 
them both down with one spear. 

" By my faith," said Tristram, " he is a good 
knight, whoever he be, and I never saw one yet 
that rode so well." 

Then the king of Northgalis rode to Palamides, 
and prayed him for his sake to joust with that 
knight who had just overturned two Welsh knights. 

" I beg you ask me not," said Palamides. " I 
have had my full share of jousting already, and 
wish to keep fresh for the tournament to-morrow." 

" One ride only, for the honor of North Wales," 
beseeched the king. 

" Well, if you will have it so ; but I have seen 
many a man have a fall at his own request." 

Then he sent a squire to the victor knight, and 
challenged him to a joust. 

"Fair fellow," said the knight, "tell me your 
lord's name." 

" It is Sir Palamides." 

" He is well met, then. I have seen no knight 
in seven years with whom I would rather tilt." 

Then the two knights took spears from their 
squires, and rode apart. 


" Now,' ' said Dinadan, " you will see Palamides 
come off the victor." 

" I doubt it/' answered Tristram. " I wager the 
knight with the Cornish shield will give him a fall." 

" That I do not believe/' said Dinadan. 

As they spoke, the two knights put spears in rest, 
and spurred their horses, riding hotly together. 
Palamides broke a spear on his antagonist, without 
moving him in his saddle; but on his side he 
received such a blow that it broke through his 
shield and hauberk, and would have slain him out- 
right had he not fallen. 

"How now?' cried Tristram. "Am I not 
right? I knew by the way those knights ride 
which would fall." 

The unknown knight now rode away and sought 
a well in the forest edge, for he was hot and thirsty 
with the fray. This was seen by the king of jSTorth- 
galis, who sent twelve knights after him to do him 
a mischief, so that he would not be able to appear 
at the tournament and win the victory. 

They came upon him so suddenly that he had 
scarcely time to put on his helm and spring to his 
horse's back before thev assailed him in mass. 


" Ye villains ! ' he cried, " twelve to one ! And 
taking a man unawares ! You want a lesson, and 
by my faith you shall have it." 

Then spurring his horse he rode on them so 
fiercely that he smote one knight through the body, 
breaking his spear in doing so. Now he drew his 
sword and smote stoutly to right and left, killing 
three others and wounding more. 

" Dogs and dastards ! know you me not ? ' he 


cried in a voice of thunder. " My name is Lancelot 
du Lake. Here's for you, cowards and traitors ! ' 
But the name he had shouted was enough. Those 
who were still able, fled, followed by the angry 
knight. By hard riding they escaped his wrath, 
and he, hot and furious, turned aside to a lodging 
where he designed to spend the night. In conse- 
quence of his hard labor in this encounter Lancelot 
fought not on the first day of the tournament, but 
sat beside King Arthur, who had come hither from 
Camelot to witness the passage-at-arms. 



WHEN came the dawn of the first day of the 
tournament, many ladies and gentlemen of the court 
took their seats on a high gallery, shaded by a rich 
canopy of parti-colored silk, while in the centre 
of the gallery sat King Arthur and Queen Guenever, 
and, by the side of the king, Lancelot du Lake. 
Many other noble lords and ladies of the surround- 
ing country occupied the adjoining seats, while 
round the circle that closed in the lists sat hosts 
of citizens and country people, all eager for the 
warlike sports. 

Knights in glittering armor stood in warlike 
groups outside the entrance gates, where rose many 
pavilions of red and white silk, each with its flutter- 


ing pennon, and great war-horses that impatiently 
champed the bit, while the bright steel heads of the 
lances shone like star-points in the sun. 

Within the lists the heralds and pursuivants 
busied themselves, while cheery calls, and bugle- 
blasts, and the lively chat of the assembled multi- 
tude filled the air with joyous sound. 

Tristram de Lyonesse still dwelt with the old 
knight Sir Pellounes, in company with Sir Persides, 
whom he yet kept in ignorance of his name. And 
as it was his purpose to fight that day unknown, 
he ordered Gouvemail, his squire, to procure him 
a black-faced shield, without emblem or device of 
any kind. 

So accoutred, he and Persides mounted in the 
early morn and rode together to the lists, where 
the parties of King Carados and the king of North- 
galis were already being formed. Tristram and his 
companion joined the side of Carados, the Scottish 
king, and hardly had they ridden to their place 
when King Arthur gave the signal for the onset, 
the bugles loudly sounded, and the two long lines 
of knights rode together with a crash as of two 
thunder-clouds meeting in mid-air. 

Many knights and horses went to the earth in 
that mad onset, and many others who had broken 
their spears drew their swords and so kept up the 
fray. The part of the line where Tristram and 
Persides was drove back the king of Northgalis 
and his men, with many noble knights who fought 
on the side of the Welsh king. But through the 
rush and roar of the onset there pushed forward 
Blecberis de Gams and Gaheris, who hurled Per- 


sides to the earth, where he was almost slain, for 
as he lay there helpless more than forty horsemen 
rode over him in the fray. 


Seeing this, and what valiant deeds the two 
knights did, Tristram marvelled who they were. 
But perceiving the danger in which his comrade 
Persides lav, he rushed to the rescue with such force 

*/ ? 

that Gaheris was hurled headlong from his horse. 
Then Bleoberis in a rage put his spear in rest and 
rode furiously against Tristram, but he was met in 
mid-career, and flung from his saddle by the resist- 
less spear of the Cornish knight. 

The king with the hundred knights now rode 
angrily forward, pressed back the struggling line, 
and horsed Gaheris and Bleoberis. Then began a 
fierce struggle, in w r hich Bleoberis and Tristram 
did many deeds of knightly skill and valor. 

As the violent combat continued, Dinadan, who 
was on the other side, rode against Tristram, not 
knowing Mm, and got such a buffet that he swooned 
in his saddle. He recovered in a minute, however, 
and, riding to his late companion, said in a low 

" Sir knight, is this the way you serve an old 
comrade, masking under a black shield? I know 
you now better than vou deem. I will not reveal 

/ *i 

your disguise, but by my troth I vow I will never 
try buffets with you again, and, if I keep my wits, 
sword of yours shall never come near mv head- 

/ */ 


As Dinadan withdrew to repair damages, Bleo- 
beris rode against Tristram, who gave him such a 
furious sword-blow on the helm that he bowed his 




head to the saddle. Then Tristram caught him 
by the helm, jerked him from his horse, and flung 
him down under the feet of the steed. 

This ended the fray, for at that moment Arthur 
bade the heralds to blow to lodging, and the knights 
who still held saddle sheathed their swords. Tris- 
tram thereupon departed to his pavilion and Dina- 
dan with him. 

But Arthur, and many of those with him, won- 
dered who was the knight with the black shield, 
who had with sword and spear done such wondrous 
deeds. Many opinions were given, and some sus- 
pected him of being Tristram, but held their peace. 
To him the judges awarded the prize of the day's 
combat, though they named him only the knight 
of the black shield, not knowing by what other 
name to call him. 

When the second day of the tournament dawned, 
and the knights prepared for the combat, Pala- 
mides, who had fought under Northgalis, now 
joined King Arthur's party, that led by Carados, 
and sent to Tristram to know his name. 

" As to that," answered Tristram, " tell Sir 
Palamides that he shall not know till I have broken 
two spears with him. But you may tell him that 
I am the same knight that he smote down unfairly 
the day before the tournament, and that I owe him 
as shrewd a turn. So whichever side he takes I 
will take the opposite." 

" Sir," said the messenger, " he will be on King 
Arthur's side, in company with the noblest knights." 

" Then I will fight for Northgalis, though yester- 
dav I held with Carados/ 


When King Arthur blew to field and the fray 
began, King Carados opened the day by a joust with 
the king with the hundred knights, who gave him 
a sore fall. Around him there grew up a fierce 
combat, till a troop of Arthur's knights pushed 
briskly in and bore back the opposite party, rescuing 
Carados from under the horses' feet. While the 
fight went on thus in one part of the field, Tris- 
tram, in jet-black armor, pressed resistlessly for- 
ward in another part, and dealt so roughly and 
grimly with Arthur's knights that not a man of 
them could withstand him. 

At length he fell among the fellowship of King 
Ban, all of whom bore Cornish shields, and here 
he smote right and left with such fury and might 
that cries of admiration for his gallant bearing 
went up from lords and ladies, citizens and churls. 
But he would have had the worse through force 
of numbers had not the king with the hundred 
knights come to his rescue, and borne him away 
from the press of his assailants, who were crowding 
upon him in irresistible strength. 

Hardly had Tristram escaped from this peril than 
he saw another group of about forty knights, with 
Kay the seneschal at their head. On them he rode 
like a fury, smote Kay from his horse, and fared 
among them all like a greyhound among conies. 

At this juncture Lancelot, who had hitherto taken 
little part, met a knight retiring from the lists with 
a sore wound in the head. 

" Who hurt vou so badly ? ' he asked. 

*/ \J 

" That knight with the black shield, who is 
making havoc wherever he goes," was the answer. 


"I may curse the time I ever faced him, for he is 
more devil than mortal man." 

Lancelot at these words drew his sword and 
advanced to meet Tristram, and as he rode forward 
saw the Cornish champion hurtling through a press 
of foes, bringing down one with nearly every stroke 
of his sword. 

" A fellow of marvellous prowess he, whoever he 
be," said Lancelot. " If I set upon this knight 
after all his heavy labor, I will shame myself more 
than him." And he put up his sword. 

Then the king with the hundred knights, with his 
following, and a hundred more of the Welsh party, 
set upon the twenty of Lancelot's kin, and a fearful 
fray began, for the twenty held together like wild 
boars, none failing the others, and faced the odds 
against them without yielding a step. 

When Tristram, who had for the moment with- 
drawn, beheld their noble bearing, he marvelled 
at their valor, for he saw by their steadfastness that 
they would die together rather than leave the field. 

" Valiant and noble must be he who has such 
knights for his kin," he said, meaning Lancelot; 
" and likely to be a worthy man is he who leads 
such knights as these." 

Then he rode to the king with the hundred 
knights and said, 

" Sir, leave off fighting with these twenty knights. 
You can win no honor from them, you being so 
many and they so few. I can see by their bearing 
that they will die rather than leave the field, and 
that will bring you no glory. If this one sided 
fray goes on I will join them and give them what 
help I can." 


" You shall not do so," said the king. " You 
speak in knightly courtesy, and I will withdraw 
my men at your request. I know how courage 
favors courage, and like draws to like." 

Then the king called off his knights, and with- 
drew from the combat with Lancelot's kindred. 

Meanwhile Lancelot was watching for an oppor- 
tunity to meet Tristram and hail him as a fellow in 
heart and hand, but before he could do so Tristram, 
Dinadan, and Gouvernail suddenly left the lists 
and rode into the forest, no man perceiving whither 
they had gone. 

Then Arthur blew to lodging, and gave the prize 
of the day to the king of Northgalis, as the true 
champion of the tournament was on his side and 
had vanished. Lancelot rode hither and thither, 
vainly seeking him, while a cry that might have been 
heard two miles off went up : " The knight with the 
black shield has won the day ! ' 

" Alas, where has that knight gone ! ' said 
Arthur. " It is a shame that those in the field have 
let him thus vanish. With gentleness and cour- 
tesy they might have brought him to me at the 
Castle of Maidens, where I should have been 
glad to show him the highest honor." 

Then he went to the knights of his party and 
comforted them for their discomfiture. 

" Be not disma} r ed, my fair fellows," he said, 
"though you have lost the field, and many of you 
are the worst in body and mind. Be of good cheer, 
for to-morrow we fight again. How the day will 
go I cannot say, but I will be in the lists with 
you, and lend you what aid is in my arm." 


During that day's fight Dame Bragwaine had sat 
near Queen Guenever, observing Tristram's val- 
orous deeds. But when the queen asked her why 
she had come thither, she would not tell the real 
reason, but said only, 

" Madam, I came for no other cause than that 
my lady, La Belle Isolde, sent me to inquire after 
your welfare." 

After the fray was done she took leave of the 
queen and rode into the forest in search of Sir 
Tristram. As she went onward she heard a great 
cry, and sent her squire to learn what it might 
mean. He quickly came to a forest fountain, and 
here he found a knight bound to a tree, crying 
out like a madman, while his horse and harness 
stood by. When he saw the squire, he started so 
furiously that he broke his bonds, and then ran 
after him, sword in hand, as if to slay him. The 
squire at this spurred his horse and rode swiftly 
back to Dame Bragwaine, whom he told of his 

Soon afterwards she found Tristram, who had 
set up his pavilion in the forest, and told him of 
the incident. 

" Then, on my head, there is mischief here 
afloat/' said Tristram ; " some good knight has 
gone distracted." 

Taking his horse and sword he rode to the place, 
and there he found the knight complaining woefully. 

" What misfortune has befallen me ? ' he la- 
mented ; " I, woeful Palamides, who am defiled 
with falsehood and treason through Sir Bors and 
Sir Hector! Alas, why live I so long?' 


Then he took his sword in his hands, and with 
many strange signs and movements flung it into 
the fountain. This done, he wailed bitterly and 
wrung his hands, but at the end he ran to his mid- 
dle in the water and sought again for his sword. 
Tristram, seeing this, ran upon him and clasped 
him in his arms, fearing he would kill himself. 

"Who are you that holds me so tightly ?' said 

" I am a man of this forest, and mean you no 
harm, but would save you from injury." 

" Alas ! " said the knight, " I shall never win 
honor where Sir Tristram is. Where he is not, 
only Lancelot or Lamorak can win from me the 
prize. More than once he has put me to the worse." 

" What would you do if you had him ? ' 

" I would fight him and ease my heart. And 
yet, sooth to say, he is a gentle and noble knight." 

" Will you go with me to my lodging ? ' 

" No ; I will go to the king with the hundred 
knights. He rescued me from Bors and Hector, 
or they had slain me treacherously/' 

But by kind words Tristram got him to his pavil- 
ion, where he did what he could to cheer him. But 
Palamides could not sleep for anguish of soul, and 
rose before dawn and secretly left the tent, making 
his way to the pavilions of Gaheris and Sagramour 
le Desirous, who had been his companions in the 

Not far had the next day's sun risen in the east- 
ern sky, when King Arthur bade the heralds blow 
the call to the lists, and with warlike haste the 
knights came crowding in to the last day of the 
well-fought tournament. 


Fiercely began the fray, King Carados and his 
ally, the king of Ireland, being smitten from their 
horses early in the day. Then came in Palamides 
full of fury, and made sad work among his foes, 
being known to all by his indented shield. 

But this day King Arthur, as he had promised, 
rode in shining armor into the field, and fought 
so valorously that the king of JSTorthgalis and his 
party had much the worse of the combat. 

While the fight thus went on in all its fury, 
Tristram rode in, still bearing his black shield. 
Encountering Palamides, he gave him such a thrust 
that he was driven over his horse's croup. Then 
King Arthur cried, 

" Knight with the black shield, make ready for 

But the king met with the same fate from Tris- 
tram's spear that Palamides had done, and was 
hurled to the earth. Seeing this, a rush of the 
knights of his party drove back the foe, and Arthur 
and Palamides were helped to their saddles again. 

And now the king, his heart burning with war- 
like fury, rushed fiercely on Tristram, and struck 
him so furious a blow that he was hurled from 
his horse. As he lay there Palamides spurred upon 
him in a violent rage, and sought to override him 
as he was rising to his feet. But Tristram saw his 
purpose and sprang aside. As Palamides rode 
past he wrathfully caught him by the arm and 
pulled him from his horse. 

" Sword to sword let it be ! ? cried Tristram. 

Palamides, nothing loth, drew his weapon, and 
so fierce a combat began in the midst of the arena 


that lords and ladies alike stood in their seats in 
eagerness to behold it. But at the last Tristram 
struck Palamides three mighty strokes on the helm, 
crying with each stroke, " Take this for Sir Tris- 
tram's sake ! ' 

So fierce were the blows that Palamides was felled 
to the earth. Then the king with the hundred 
knights dashed forward and brought Tristram his 
horse. Palamides was horsed at the same time, and 
with burning ire he rushed upon Tristram, spear in 
rest, before he could make ready to meet him. But 
Tristram lightly avoided the spear, and, enraged at 
his repeated treachery, he caught him with both 
hands by the neck as his horse bore him past, tore 
him clean from the saddle, and carried him thus 
ten spears' length across the field before he let him 

At that moment King Arthur spurred upon the 
Cornish champion, sword in hand, and Tristram 
fixed his spear to meet him, but with a sword-blow 
Arthur cut the spear in two, and then dealt him 
three or four vigorous strokes before he could draw. 
But at the last Tristram drew his sword and assailed 
the king with equal energy. 

This battle continued not long, for the press of 
battling knights forced the combatants asunder. 
Then Tristram rode hither and thither, striking 
and parrying, so that that day he smote down in 
all eleven of the good knights of King Ban's blood, 
wiiile all in seats and gallery shouted in loud acclaim 
for the mighty warrior with the black shield. 

This cry met the ears of Lancelot, who was 
engaged in another part of the field. Then he got 


a spear and came towards the cry. Seeing Tristram 
standing without an antagonist, he cried out, - 

" Knight with the black shield, well and worthily 
have you done ; now make ready to joust with me." 

When Tristram heard this he put his spear in 
rest, and both with lowered heads rode together 
with lightning speed. Tristram's spear broke into 
fragments on Lancelot's shield; but Lancelot, by 
ill-fortune., smote him in the side, wounding him 
deeply. He kept his saddle, however, and, drawing 
his sword, rushed upon Lancelot and gave him three 
such strokes that fire flew from his helm, and he 
was forced to lower his head towards his saddle- 
bow. This done, Tristram left the field, for he felt 
as if he would die. But Dinadan espied him and 
followed him into the forest. 

After Tristram left the lists, Lancelot fought like 
a man beside himself, many a noble knight going 
down before his spear and sword. King Arthur, 
seeing against what odds he fought, came quickly 
to his aid, with the knights of his own kindred, 
and in the end they won the day against the king of 
Northgalis and his followers. So the prize was 
adjudged to Lancelot. 

But neither for king, queen, nor knights would 
he accept it, and when the cry was raised by the 

" Sir Lancelot, Sir Lancelot has won the field this 
day ! ' he bade them change, and cry instead, 

" The knight with the black shield has won the 

But the estates and the commonalty cried out 


" Sir Lancelot has won the field, whoever say 
nay ! 

This filled Lancelot with shame and anger, and 
he rode with a lowering brow to King Arthur, to 
whom he cried, 

"The knight with the black shield is the hero 
of the lists. For three days he held against all, 
till he got that unlucky wound. The prize, I say, 
is his." 

" Sir Tristram it is," said the king. " I heard 
him shout his name three times when he gave those 
mighty strokes to Palamides. Never better nor 
nobler knight took spear or sword in hand. He 
was hurt indeed; but when two noble warriors 
encounter one must have the worst." 

" Had I known him I would not have hurt him 
for all my father's lands," said Lancelot. " Only 
lately he risked his life for me, when he fought 
with thirty knights, with no help but Dinadan. 
This is poor requital for his noble service." 

Then they sought Tristram in the forest, but in 
vain. They found the place where his pavilion 
had been pitched, but it was gone and all trace of 
its owner vanished. Thereupon they returned to 
the Castle of Maidens, where for three days was 
held high feast and frolic, and where all who came 
were warmly welcomed by King Arthur and Queen 




WHEN Tristram was well within the forest shades, 
he alighted and unlaced his armor and sought to 
stanch his wound. But so pale did he become that 
Dinadan thought he was like to die. 

" Never dread thee, Dinadan," said Tristram, 
cheerily, " for I am heart whole, and of this wound 
I shall soon be healed, by God's mercy." 

As they sat conversing Dinadan saw at a distance 
Sir Palamides, who was riding straight upon them, 
with seeming evil intent. Dinadan hastily bid 
Tristram to withdraw, and offered himself to meet 
the Saracen and take the chance of life and death 
with him. 

" I thank you, Sir Dinadan, for your good will," 
said Tristram, " but you shall see that I am able 
to handle him." 

He thereupon hastily armed himself, and, mount- 
ing his horse, rode to meet Palamides. Then a chal- 
lenge to joust passed between them, and they rode 
together. But Tristram kept his seat and Pala- 
mides got a grievous fall, and lay on the earth like 
one dead. 

Leaving him there with a comrade, Tristram and 
Dinadan rode on, and obtained lodging for that 
night at the castle of an old knight, who had five 
sons at the tournament. 

As for Palamides, when he recovered from his 


swoon, he wellnigh lost his wits through sheer vexa- 
tion. He rode headlong forward, wild with rage, 
and meeting a deep stream sought to make his 
horse leap it. But the horse fell in and was 
drowned, and the knight himself reached shore only 
by the barest chance. 

Now, mad with chagrin, he flung off his armor, 
and sat roaring and crying like a man distracted. 
As he sat there, a damsel passed by, who on seeing 
his distressful state sought to comfort him, but in 
vain. Then she rode on till she came to the old 
knight's castle, where Tristram was, and told how 
she had met a mad knight in the forest. 

" What shield did he bear ? ' asked Tristram. 

" It was indented with black and white/ 7 an- 
swered the damsel. 

" That was Palamides. The poor fellow has lost 
his wits through his bad luck. I beg that you 
bring him to your castle, Sir Darras." 

This the old knight did, for the frenzy of the 
Saracen had now passed, and he readily accompanied 
him. On reaching the castle he looked curiously 
at Tristram, whom he felt sure he had seen before, 
but could not place him in his mind. But his anger 
against his fortunate rival continued, and he boasted 
proudly to Dinadan of what he would do when he 
met that fellow Tristram. 

" It seems to me/ 7 answered Dinadan, " that you 
met him not long since, and got little good of him. 
Why did you not hold him when you had him in 
your hands? You were too easy with the fellow 
not to pummel him when you had so fine an 
opportunity/ 7 


This scornful reply silenced the boastful Saracen, 
who fell into an angry moodiness. 

Meanwhile King Arthur was sore at heart at 
the disappearance of Tristram, and spoke in re- 
proach to Lancelot as being the cause of his loss. 

" My liege Arthur," answered Lancelot, " you 
do me ill justice in this. When men are hot in 
battle they may well hurt their friends as well as 
their foes. As for Tristram, there is no man living 
whom I would rather help. If you desire, I will 
make one of ten knights who will go in search of 
him, and not rest two nights in the same place for 
a year until we find him/' 

This offer pleased the king, who quickly chose 
nine other knights for the quest, and made them 
all swear upon the Scriptures to do as Lancelot 
had proposed. 

With dawn of the next day these ten knights 
armed themselves, and rode from the Castle of 
Maidens, continuing in company until they came to 
a roadside cross, from which ran out four high- 
ways. Here they separated into four parties, each 
of which followed one of the highways. And far 
and wide they rode through field and forest for 
many days in quest of the brave knight of Cornwall. 

Of them all, Sir Lucan, the butler, came nearest 
to good fortune, for chance brought him to the castle 
of the old knight, Sir Darras. Here he asked har- 
bor, sending in his name by the porter. 

" He shall not rest here unless he first joust with 
me," cried Sir Daname, the old knight's nephew. 
( Bid him make ready, for he must earn his 


But better had Daname held his peace, for Lucan 
smote him over his horse's croup, and followed him 
hotly when he fled into the castle. 

" This is a shame to our host," said Dinadan. 
"Let me try conclusions with our doughty butler. 
It will not do to let him take our castle by storm." 

He thereupon rode against Lucan, and fared still 
worse, for he got for his pains a spear thrust through 
the thigh. Then Tristram, in anger, armed and 
followed Lucan, who had ridden on, in search of a 
more peaceful place of shelter. Within a mile he 
overtook him and bade him turn and joust. Noth- 
ing loth, Lucan did so, and in his turn got a sore 
fall, though he little dreamed that he had been 
overthrown by the knight of his quest. At this 
juncture another of the ten knights, Sir Uwaine, 
came up, and seeing Sir Lucan's misfortune, rode 
furiously against the victor. His luck was no better, 
for he was hurled to the ground with a sorely 
wounded side. Having thus revenged his comrades, 
Tristram returned to the castle. 

Meanwhile a damsel from the Castle of Maidens 
had come thither, and told Sir Darras a woeful 
story. Of his five sons, three had been slain at 
the tournament, and the other two were danger- 
ously wounded, all this having been done by the 
knight of the black shield. Deep grief filled the 
old knighf s heart at this sad tale. But his sor- 
row turned to rage when the damsel was shown 
Tristram's shield and recognized it as that of the 
champion of the tournament. 

" So/' cried the old knight in a hot passion. " I 
am harboring here my sons' murderer, and troubling 


myself to give him noble cheer. By my father's 
grave, I will revenge my boys' death on him and his 

Then in grief and rage he ordered his knights 
and servants to seize Tristram, Dinadan, and Pala- 
mides, and put them in a strong dungeon he had 
in the keep of his castle. 

This was done before the three knights could 
defend themselves, and for many days they lay in 
this dismal cell, until Tristram grew so sick from 
his wound and confinement that he came near to 
dying. While they lay thus in durance vile some 
knights of Darras's kindred came to the castle, 
and on hearing the story wished to kill the captives, 
but this the old knight would not permit, though 
he determined to hold them close prisoners. So 
deep in time grew Tristram's sickness that his 
mind nearly failed him, and he was ready to slay 
himself for pain and grief. Palamides gave him 
what aid he could, though all the time he spoke 
of his hatred to Tristram, the Cornishman, and 
of the revenge he yet hoped to have. To this Tris- 
tram made no reply, but smiled quietly. 

Meanwhile the ten knights continued their fruit- 
less search, some here, some there, while one of 
them, Gaheris, nephew to King Arthur, made his 
way to King Mark's court, where he was well 

As they sat at table together the king asked 
his guest what tidings he brought from Arthur's 
realm of Logris. 

" Sir," he answered, " King Arthur still reigns 
nobly, and he lately presided at a grand tourna- 


ment where fought many of the noblest knights of 
the kingdom. But best of them all was a valiant 
knight who bore a black shield, and who kept the 
lordship of the lists for three days." 

" Then by my crown it must have been Lance- 
lot, or Palamides the Pagan." 

" Not so. These knights were against him of the 
black shield." 

" Was it Sir Tristram ? ' asked the king. 

" In sooth you have it now." 

The king held down his head at this, but La 
Belle Isolde, who was at the feast, heard it with 
great secret joy, and her love for Tristram grew 
warmer in her soul. 

But King Mark nourished treason in his heart, 
and sought within his brain some device to do 
dishonor to Tristram and to Arthur's knights. 
Soon afterward Uwaine came to his court and 
challenged any knight of Cornwall to meet him 
in the lists. Two of these, Andred, and Dinas the 
seneschal, accepted the challenge, but both were 
overthrown. Then King Mark in a fury cried out 
against his knights, and Gaheris, as his guest, prof- 
fered to meet the champion. But when Uwaine 
saw his shield, he knew him for his own cousin, 
and refused to joust with him, reproving him for 
breaking his oath of fellowship as a Knight of 
the Round Table. 

This reproof cut Gaheris deeply, and returning 
to King Mark he took his leave of him and his 
court, saying, 

" Sir king, this I must say, that you did a foul 
shame to yourself and your kingdom when you 


banished Sir Tristram. Had he stayed here you 
would not have wanted a champion." 

All this added to the king's rage, and arming 
himself he waylaid Uwaine at a secret place as he 
was passing unawares, and ran him through the 
body. But before he could kill him as he designed, 
Kay the seneschal came that way and flew to the 
aid of the wounded knight, while King Mark rode 
in dastardly haste away. Kay sought to learn from 
Uwaine who had hurt him, but this he was not able 
to tell. 

He then bore him to a neighboring abbey of the 
black cross, where he left him in the care of the 
monks. Not far had he ridden from there when 
he met King Mark, who accosted him courteously, 
and bade him, if he sought an adventure, to ride 
into the forest of Morris, where he would find one 
to try his prowess. 

" I will prove what it is worth," said Kay, and 
bade adieu to the king. 

A mile or two further on he met Gaheris, who, 
learning his errand, warned him against doing any- 
thing at the suggestion of King Mark, who meant 
but treachery and harm. 

" Come with me, then," said Kay. " Adventures 
are not so abundant, and we two should be able to 
match the wiles of this dastard king." 

" I shall not fail you," said Gaheris. 

Into the forest they then rode till they came to 
the edge of a little lake, known as the Perilous 
Lake, and here they waited under the woodland 

It was now night, but the moon rode high in the 


skies, and flung its silvery rays wide over the 
forest glade. As they stood thus, there rode into 
the moonlit opening a knight all in black armor 
and on a great black horse, who tilted against Sir 
Kay. The seneschal's horse was smaller than that 
of the stranger, and was overthrown by the shock, 
falling upon its rider, whom it bruised severely. 

During this encounter Gaheris had remained hid- 
den under the woodland shadows. He now cried 

" Knight, sit thou fast in thy saddle, for I will 
revenge my fellow ; ? and rode against the black 
knight with such fury that he was flung from his 
horse. Then he turned to a companion of the 
black knight, who now appeared, and hurled him 
to the earth so violently that he came near to 
breaking his neck in the fall. 

Leaping from his horse and helping Kay to his 
feet, Gaheris sternly bade his antagonists to tell 
their names or they should die. 

" Beware what you do/ 7 said the second knight. 
" This is King Mark of Cornwall, and I am his 
cousin Andred." 

" You are traitors both," cried Gaheris, in a 
fury, "and have laid this ambush for us. It were 
a pity to let such craven rascals live." 

" Spare my life/' prayed the king, " and I will 
make full amends." 

" You a king ; and dealing in treachery ! ' cried 
Gaheris. " You have lived long enough." 

With this he struck fiercely at King Mark with 
his sword, while the dastard king cowered under 
his shield. Kay attacked Andred at the same time. 


King Mark now flung himself on his knees before 
Gaheris and swore on the cross of his sword never 
while he lived to do aught against errant knights. 
And he also swore to be a friend unto Sir Tristram 
if he should come into Cornwall. 

With this they let them go, though Kay was 
eager to slay Andred, for his deeds of treachery 
against his cousin Tristram. The two knights now 
rode out of the kingdom of Cornwall, and soon 
after met Lancelot, who asked them what tidings 
they brought from King Mark's country, and if 
they had learned aught of Tristram. They an- 
swered that they had not, and told him of their 
adventure, at which Lancelot smiled. 

" You will find it hard to take out of the flesh 
that which is bred in the bone/' he said. 

Then Lancelot, Kay, and Gaheris rode together 
to seek Tristram in the country of Surluse, not 
dreaming that he lay in prison not many miles 
from the Castle of Maidens. 

Leaving them to pursue their useless journey, we 
must return to the three prisoners. Tristram still 
continued sick almost unto death, while Palamides, 
while giving him daily care, continued to rail 
loudly against him and to boast of how he would 
yet deal with him. Of this idle boasting Dinadan 
in time had more than he could bear, and broke 
out angrily on the Saracen. 

" I doubt if you would do him harm if he were 
here before you," he said ; " for if a wolf and a 
sheep were together in prison the wolf would leave 
the sheep in peace. As for Sir Tristram, against 
whom you rail like a scold, here he lies before you. 


Now do your worst upon him, Sir Saracen, while 
he is too sick to defend himself." 

Surprise and shame overcame Palamides at this 
announcement, and he dropped his head in con- 

"I have heard somewhat too much of your ill 
will against me/' said Tristram, " but shall let it 
pass at present, for we are in more danger here 
from the lord of this place than from each other." 

As they spoke, a damsel brought them their noon- 
tide meal, and said as she gave it them, 

" Be of good cheer, sir knights, for you are in 
no peril of your lives. So much I heard my lord, 
Sir Darras, say this morning." 

" So far your news is good," cried Dinadan. 
" Good for two of us at least, for this good knight 
promises to die without waiting for the executioner." 

The damsel looked upon Tristram, and observing 
the thinness of his face and hands, went and told 
Sir Darras of what she had heard and seen. 

" That must not be," cried the knight. " God 
defend that I should suffer those who came to me 
for succor to die in my prison. Bring them hither." 

Then Tristram was brought to the castle hall 
on his couch, with the other two knights beside him. 

" Sir knight," said the castle lord, " I am sorry 
for your sickness, and would not have so noble a 
knight as you die in prison, though I owe to you 
the death of three of my sons." 

"As for that," said Tristram, "it was in fair 
fight, and if they were my next of kin I could 
not have done otherwise. If I had slain them by 
treachery, I would have deserved death at your 


" You acted knightly, and for that reason I could 
not put you to death/' said Sir Darras. " You and 
your fellows shall go at full liberty, with your 
horses and armor, on this covenant, that you will 
be a good friend to my two sons who are still living, 
and that you tell me your name." 

" My name is Tristram de Lyonesse. I was born 
in Cornwall, and am nephew to King Mark. And 
I promise you by the faith of my body that while 
I live I shall be a friend to you and your sons, for 
what you have done to us was but by force of 

" If you be the good knight Sir Tristram, I am 
sorry to have held you in durance, and thank you 
for your proffer of service. But you must stay 
with me still till you are well and strong." 

To this Tristram agreed, and staid many more 
days with the old knight, growing well rapidly 
under the healing influence of hope and liberty. 



WHEN Tristram's strength had all come back 
again he took his leave of Sir Darras, and rode 
away with Palamides and Dinadan. Soon they 
came to a cross-way, and here Tristram said, 

" Good sirs, let us here take each his own road, 
and many fair adventures may come to us all." 


To this they agreed, and Tristram rode on along 
the main highway, chance bringing him that night 
to a castle in which was Queen Morgan le Fay. 
Here he was given lodging and good cheer, but 
when he was ready to depart the next day the queen 
said to him, 

" Sir knight, it is one thing to enter this castle 
and another to leave it. You will not depart so 
easily as you came. Know that you are a prisoner." 

" God f orfend," said Tristram. " I am just re- 
leased from prison, and have had enough of that 



You shall stay here, nevertheless, till I learn 
who you are and whence you came, but I promise 
you no hard quarters." 

She set him, therefore, by her side at table, and 
made so much of him that a knight who loved 
her clutched his sword-hilt in jealous rage, half 
disposed to rush upon Tristram and run him 
through unawares. 

" Tell me your name," said the queen, at the end 
of the repast, " and you shall depart when you 

" Thanks for your promise, fair lady. My name 
is Tristram de lyyonesse." 

" Then I am sorry I made so hasty a promise. 
But I will hold to my word if you will engage 
to bear a shield which I shall give you to the Castle 
of the Hard Rock, where King Arthur has an- 
nounced that a tournament is to be held. I have 
heard of your deeds of arms at the Castle of Maid- 
ens, and hope you will do as much for me at this 
new tournament." 


" Let me see the shield that you wish me to 
bear/' asked Tristram. 

So the shield was brought. It was golden on 
its face, and on it was painted a king and queen, 
with a knight standing above them with a foot on 
the head of each. 

" This is a fair shield," said Tristram ; " but 
what signifies the device ? ? 

" It signifies King Arthur and Queen Guenever," 
said Morgan, " and a knight that holds them both 
in bondage." 

" And who is the knight ? 

" That you shall not know at present." 

So Tristram took the shield, not dreaming that 
it was intended as a rebuke to Sir Lancelot, and 
promised to bear it at the tournament. 

But as he rode away he was followed by Sir 
Hemison, the knight who loved Morgan le Fay, and 
whose jealous anger had been roused. Overtaking 
Tristram before he had gone far, he rushed upon 
him at the speed of his horse, crying, in a voice 
of thunder, 

" Sir knight, defend yourself ! ' 

This Tristram did with good effect, for his assail- 
ant's spear broke upon his body, while he thrust 
him through and hurled him to the earth with a 
mortal wound. 

" Fool, you have brought it on yourself," said 
Tristram. " It is not my fault if you got what 
you designed for me." 

Then he rode on, and left the wounded knight- 
to the care of his squire, who removed his helmet, 
and asked if his life was in any danger. 


"There is little life in me/' said the knight, 
" and that is ebbing fast. Therefore help me to 
my saddle, and mount behind me and hold me on 
so that I shall not fall, and so bring me to Queen 
Morgan le Fay. For deep draughts of death draw 
to my heart, and I would fain speak to her before 
I die." 

The squire did as commanded, and brought his 
bleeding master to the castle, but he died as he 
entered the hall, falling lifeless at the feet of the 
lady of his love. Much she wept and great lamen- 
tation she made for his untimely fate, and buried 
him in a stately tomb, on which was written, 
" Here lieth Sir Hemison, slain by the hands of 
Tristram de Lyonesse." 

On the next day Tristram arrived at the castle 
of Eoche-dure, where he saw the lists prepared 
for the tournament, with gay pennons flying, while 
full five hundred tents were pitched in a fair 
meadow by the gates. Over the seats of honor 
were silken canopies, that shaded noble lords and 
beautiful ladies clad in gay apparel. Within the 
lists the kings of Scotland and Ireland held out 
strongly against King Arthur's knights, and dread 
was the noise and turmoil within. 

Tristram at once joined in the fray, and smote 
down many knights; King Arthur marvelling the 
while at the device on his shield, while Guenever 
grew heavy at heart, for well she guessed its 


Ever King Arthur's eye was on that shield, and 
much he wondered who the knight could be, for 
he had heard that Tristram was in Brittany, and he 


knew that Lancelot was in quest of him, while 
he knew no other knight of equal prowess. 

As the combat went on, Arthur's knights drove 
back their antagonists, who began to withdraw 
from the field. On seeing this the king deter- 
mined that the knight with the strange shield 
should not escape, so he armed and called Sir 
Uwaine, entering the lists with him and riding up 
to confront the unknown knight. 

" Sir stranger," said the king, " before we fight, 
I require you to tell me where you got that shield/' 

" I had" it from Morgan le Fay, sister to King 
Arthur/' answered Tristram. 

" Then, if you are worthy to bear it, you are able 
to tell me its meaning." 

" That I cannot," answered the knight. " It was 
given me by Queen Morgan, not through any asking 
of mine. She told me not what it signified, nor do 
I know, but I promised to bear it worthily." 

" In truth," said Arthur, " no knight should bear 
arms he cannot understand. But at least you will 
tell me your name." 

" To what intent ? ' asked Tristram. 

" Simply that I wish to know." 

" That is small reason. I decline to tell you." 

" If not, we must do battle together." 

" What ! " cried Tristram ; " you will fight me 
on so small a cause? My name is my own, to be 
given or withheld as I will. It is not honorable 
for a fresh knight to challenge me to battle, after 
all I have done this day. But if you think you 
have me at advantage, you may find that I am 
able to hold my own." 


Then they put their spears in rest and furiously 
dashed together across the lists. But King Arthur's 
spear shivered to splinters on Tristram's shield, 
while he himself got such a blow from the Cornish 
knight that horse and man fell headlong to the 
earth, the king with a dangerous wound in the side. 

When Uwaine saw this he reined back his horse 
in haste, and crying loudly, " Knight, defend thy- 
self ! ' he rode furiously on Tristram. But man 
fared no better than master. Uwaine was borne 
out of his saddle to the earth, while Tristram sat 

Then Tristram wheeled his horse and said, 

" Fair sirs, I had no need to joust with you, for 
I have done enough to-day; but you forced me 
to it/' 

"We have had what we deserved," answered 
Arthur. " Yet I would fain know your name, and 
would further learn if that device on your shield 
is intended as an insult to King Arthur. 7 ' 

" That you must ask Morgan le Fay : she alone 
knows. But report says she does not love her royal 
brother over much. Yet she told me not what it 
means, and I have borne it at her command. As 
for my name, it shall be known when I will." 

So Tristram departed, and rode far over hill and 
dale, everywhere seeking for Lancelot, with whom 
he in his heart wished to make fellowship. As he 
went on he came by a forest, on the edge of which 
stood a tall tower, and in front of it a fair level 
meadow. And here he saw one knight fighting 
against ten, and bearing himself so well that it 
seemed marvellous that a single man could hold 


his own so bravely against such odds. He had slain 
half their horses, and unhorsed the remaining 
knights, so that their chargers ran free in the 
field. The ten had then assailed him on foot, and 
he was bearing up bravely against them. 

" Cease that battle ! ' cried Tristram, loudly, as 
he came up. " Ten to one are cowards' odds." 
And as he came nearer he saw by his shield that 
the one knight was Sir Palamides. 

" You would be wise not to meddle," said the 
leader of the ten, who was the villanous knight 
called Breuse San Pite. " Go your way while your 
skin is whole. As for this knight, he is our prey." 

" Say you so ! ' cried Tristram. " There may be 
two words to that." 

As he spoke he sprang from his horse, lest they 
should kill it, and attacked them on foot with such 
fury that with every stroke a knight fell before him. 

This was more than they had bargained for, and 
Breuse fled hastily to the tower, followed by all 
that were able, while Tristram hotly pursued. But 
they quickly closed and barred the door, shutting 
him out. When he saw this he returned to Pala- 
mides, whom he found sitting under a tree, sorely 

" Thanks for your timely aid," said the Saracen. 
"You have saved my life." 

" What is your name ? ' asked Tristram. 

" It is Sir Palamides." 

" Then have I saved my greatest enemy ; and I 
here challenge you to battle." 

" What is your name ? ' asked Palamides. 

"I am Tristram of Lyonesse." 


" My enemy indeed ! yet I owe you thanks for 
your rescue, nor am I in condition for jousting. 
But I desire nothing better than to meet you in 
battle. If you are as eager for it, fix day and place, 
and I will be there." 

" Well said," answered Tristram. " Let it be in 
the meadow by the river at Camelot, there where 
Merlin set the tombstone." 

" Agreed. I shall not fail you." 

" How came you in battle with these ten 
dastards ? ' 

" The chance of journeying brought me into 
this forest, where I saw a dead knight with a lady 
weeping beside him. I asked her who slew her 
lord, and she told me it was the most villanous 
knight in the world, named Breuse Sans Pite. I 
then took her on my horse and promised to see 
that her lord was properly interred. But as I 
passed by this tower its rascally owner suddenly 
rode from the gate and struck me unawares so hard 
that I fell from my horse. Before I could recover 
he killed the lady. It was thus the battle began, 
at which you arrived in good time." 

" It is not safe for you to stay here," said Tris- 
tram. " That fellow is out of our reach for the 
present, but you are not in condition to meet him 

So they mounted and rode into the forest, where 
they soon came to a sparkling fountain, whose clear 
water bubbled freshly from the ground. Here they 
alighted and refreshed themselves. 

As they did so Tristram's horse neighed loudly 
and was answered by another horse near by. They 


mounted and rode towards the sound, and quickly 
came in sight of a great war-horse tied to a tree. 
Under an adjoining tree lay a knight asleep, in 
full armor, save that his helmet was placed under 
his head for a pillow. 

" A stout-looking fellow that/' said Tristram. 
" What shall we do ? " 

" Awake him/' said Palamides. 

Tristram did so, stirring him with the butt of 
his spear. 

But they had better have let him sleep, for he 
sprang angrily to his feet, put on his helmet in 
haste, and mounting his war-horse seized his spear. 
Without a word he spurred upon Tristram and 
struck him such a blow as to fling him from his 
saddle to the earth. Then he galloped back and 
came hurling upon Palamides, wiiom he served in 
the same rude fashion. Leaving them laying there, 
he turned his horse and rode leisurely away. 

When the two overthrown knights gained their 
feet again, they looked at one another with faces 
of shame and anger. 

" Well, what now ? " asked Tristram. " That is 
the worst waking I ever did in my life. By my 
troth, I did not fancy there was a knight in Arthur's 
realm that could have served you and me such a 
trick. Whatever you do, I am going after this 
woodland champion to have a fairer trial." 

" So would I were I well/' said Palamides. " But 
I am so hurt that I must seek rest with a friend 
of mine near by." 

"I can trust you to meet me at the place 
appointed ? ' 



; I have cause to have more doubt of you than 
you of me; for if you follow this strong knight 
you may not escape with whole bones from the 
adventure. I wish you success." 

"And I wish you health." 

With these words they parted, each riding his 
own way. 

But news came to Tristram as he rode on that 
would have turned many a knight from that adven- 
ture. For the first day he found a dead knight 
and a lady weeping over him, who said that her 
lord had jousted with a strong champion, who had 
run him through. On the third day he met the 
good knights Gawaine and Bleoberis, both wounded, 
who said they had been so served by a knight with 
a covered shield. 

" He treated me and Palamides the same way/' 
said Tristram, " and I am on his track to repay 

" By my faith, you had best turn back," said 

" By my head, I will not," said Tristram, and 
he rode on in pursuit. 

The next day he met Kay the seneschal and 
Dinadan in a meadow. 

" What tidings have you ? * he asked. 

" Not good/' they answered. 

" Tell me what they are. I ride in search of a 

" What cognizance does he bear ? ' 

" He carries a shield covered by a cloth." 

" Then you are not far from him," said Kay. 
" We lodged last night in a widow's house, and that 


knight sought the same lodging. And when he 
knew we were of Arthur's court he spoke villanous 
things of the king, and worse of Queen Guenever. 
The next day we waged battle with him for this 
insult. But at the first encounter he flung me from 
my horse with a sore hurt. And when Dinadan 
here saw me down he showed more prudence than 
valor, for he fled to save his skin." 

After some further words Tristram rode on; 
but days passed and he found not the knight with 
the covered shield, though he heard more tales of 
his irresistible prowess. Then, finding that his 
armor was bruised and broken with long use, he 
sent Gouvernail, his squire, to a city near by to 
bring him fresh apparel, and rested at a priory till 
he came. 

On GouvernaiFs return he donned his new armor, 
and turned his horse's head towards Camelot, seek- 
ing the point where he had engaged to do battle 
with Palamides. This was at the tomb of Lanceor, 
son of the king of Ireland, who had been slain by 
Balin, and whose lady Columbe had slain herself, as 
we have already told. His tomb had been set up 
near the river by Merlin, and it had become a place 
of pilgrimage for true lovers and faithful wedded 

Tristram did not get there without more battling, 
for the roads around Camelot then swarmed with 
errant knights, eager to show their strength. Yet 
he was none the worse for these encounters when he 
rode up to the tomb where he hoped to find Pala- 
mides in waiting. But instead of the Saracen he 
saw a knight approaching in white armor, who bore 
a shield covered with a dark cloth. 


" Sir knight, you are welcome ; none more so," 
cried Tristram. " I have sought you far and near, 
and have an ugly fall to repay you for; and also 
owe you a lesson for your revilement of King 
Arthur and his fair queen." 

" Shorter words and longer deeds would serve 
better/' said the stranger knight. " Make ready, 
my good fellow, if one fall is not enough to satisfy 

Then they rode apart to a fair distance, and 
putting spurs to their horses hurtled together with 
headlong speed. So fiercely met they, indeed, that 
horses and knights together went toppling to the 
earth, both those brave warriors kissing the dust. 

With all haste they regained their feet, put their 
shields before them, and struck at each other with 
bright swords like men of might. The battle that 
followed was such a one as that ground had never 
seen, for those two knights seemed rather giants 
than men. For four hours they kept up the com- 
bat, neither speaking a word, till at the end their 
armor was hewn off in many places, and blood had 
flowed from their wounds till the grass was turned 
from green to crimson. 

The squires looked on in wonder, and boasted 
of the might of their lords, though their hearts 
grew heavy when they saw the bright swords so 
reddened with blood. 

At last the unknown knight rested on his weapon, 
and said, 

" Sir stranger, you are the best fighter I ever 
saw in armor. I would know you better, and beg 
to learn your name/' 


" I care not to tell it," said Tristram. 

" Why not ? I never make my name a secret." 

" Then pray tell it, for I would give much to 
know the name of the stoutest knight I ever drew 
sword upon." 

" Fair sir, my name is Lancelot du Lake." 

" Alas, can this be so ? Have I fought thus 
against the man I love best in the world ? ' 

" Then who are you ? ' 

" My name is Tristram de Lyonesse." 

" Oh, what strange chance is this ! Take my 
sword, Sir Tristram, for you have earned it well." 

And he knelt and yielded Tristram his sword. 

Tristram in turn knelt and yielded up his. And 
thus with exchange of words they gave each other 
the degree of brotherhood. Then they sat together 
on the stone, and took off their helms to cool their 
heated faces, and kissed each other with brotherly 

When they had rested and conversed long in the 
most loving amity, and their squires had salved 
and bandaged their wounds, they mounted and rode 
towards Camelot. 

Near the gates of the city they met Gawaine 
and Gaheris, who were setting out in search of 
Tristram, having promised King Arthur never to 
return till they could bring the valiant knight of 
Cornwall with them. 

"Keturn, then, for your quest is done," said 
Lancelot. " I have found Sir Tristram, and here 
he is in person." 

" Then, by my life, you are heartily welcome ! ' 
cried Gawaine. " You have eased me from great 


labor, and there are ten others seeking you. Why 
came you hither of yourself ? ' 

" I had a challenge with Sir Palamides to do 
battle with him at Lanceor's tomb this day, and 
I know not why he has failed me. By lucky chance 
my lord Lancelot and I met there, and well have 
we tried each other's strength." 

Thus conversing they came to the court, where 
King Arthur, when he learned the name of Lan- 
celot's companion, was filled with joy. Taking 
Tristram warmly by both hands, he welcomed him 
to Camelot. 

" There is no other man in the world whom I 
would so gladly have here/' he said. " Much have 
you been sought for since you left the tournament, 
but in vain. I would fain learn your adventures." 

These Tristram told, and the king was amazed 
when he learned that it was he who had overthrown 
him at the Castle of Hard Rock. Then he told of 
his pursuit of the knight with the covered shield, 
and of the deeds he had done. 

" By our faith," cried Gawaine, Bleoberis, and 
Kay, "we can testify to that, for he left us all on 
the ground." 

" Aha ! who could this strong fellow have been ? ' 
asked Arthur. " Did any of you know him ? ' 

They all declared that he was a stranger to them, 
though Tristram kept silent. 

"If you know not, I do ; it was Lancelot or 
none," cried the king. 

" In faith, I fancy so," said Tristram, " for I 
found him to-day, and we had a four hours' fight 
together, before each found out the other." 




















" So," they all cried, " it is he who has beguiled 
us with his covered shield ! ' 

" You say truly/' answered Lancelot, with a 
smile. " And I called myself an enemy of King 
Arthur so that none should suspect me. I was in 
search of sport." 

" That is an old trick of yours," said Arthur. 

" One must go in disguise in these days, or go 
untried/' laughed Lancelot. 

Then Queen Guenever, and many ladies of the 
court, learning that Tristram was there, came and 
bade him welcome, ladies and knights together 
crying, " Welcome, Sir Tristram ! welcome to 
Camelot ! " 

" Welcome, indeed/' said Arthur, " to one of the 
best and gentlest knights of the world, and the 
man of highest esteem. For of all modes of hunt- 
ing, you bear the prize, and of all bugle hunting 
calls you are the origin, and all the terms of hunt- 
ing and hawking began with you; on all instru- 
ments of music no man surpasses you : therefore, 
you are trebly welcome to this court. And here 
I pray you to grant me a boon." 

" I am at your command," said Tristram. 

" It is that you abide in my court, and be one 
of my knights." 

" That I am loath to do, for I have work laid 
out elsewhere." 

" Yet you have passed your word. You shall 
not say me nay." 

" Then be it as you will," said Tristram. 

These words spoken, Arthur took Tristram by 
the hand and led him to the Bound Table, going 

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with him round its circle, and looking into every 
seat that lacked a knight. When at length he 
came to that in which Sir Marhaus had formerly 
sat, he saw there engraved in letters of gold, " This 
is the seat of the noble knight Sir Tristram." 

Then Arthur made Tristram a Knight of the 
Round Table with noble ceremony and great pomp, 
and with feasts that lasted many days. Glad were 
all there to have a knight of such prowess and high 
esteem in their company, and many friends Tris- 
tram made among his new brother s-in-arms. 

But chief of all these was Lancelot, and for days 
together Lancelot and Tristram kept genial com- 
pany, while their brotherhood gave joy to all, and 
most of all to King Arthur, who felt that the glory 
of his reign was now at its height, and that two such 
knights as these would spread the renown of the 
Round Table throughout the world. 






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